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What’s the ‘Stink’ about all these Stink Bugs?

By Chris Williams on November 7, 2012.

western coniferBy my observations, and many others also, the Western Conifer Seed bug is having a banner year here in New England. I think it’s pretty safe to say that if you either live in or work in a building, you’ve probably seen them!  There are all sorts of speculation about why they’re so abundant this year with most of it directed toward the very mild winter of 2012 as the cause.  This insect has slowly been expanding its’ range over the past fifteen or so years and is now found from Maine to Florida and up into Canada too.  There are also reports that it has begun to invade Europe where it has the potential to become a very serious pest. (Similar to what the invasive Brown Marmorated Stinkbug is doing here)

Although this pest has scent glands for defense and has been dubbed ‘stink bug’ by the general population, I must be entomologically correct (geek alert!) and mention that they belong to the Stink Bugfamily Coreidae, or Leaf-footed bugs.  Other than being a nuisance invader, they do not bite and are for now considered harmless.

I heard lots of other stories this summer from backyard vegetable growers about another ‘leaf-footed’ bug causing havoc; the squash bug.  It too was no doubt helped out by the mild winter.  Beware what you wish for all you New Englanders looking for a repeat of last winter!   I’m not worried though because the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a more normal winter with abundant snow, and we all know they’re never wrong!

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