Have you ever see one of these? This is Halyomorpha halys, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug. When we first moved into our house my husband and I jokingly named them “Herkimer”. It just seemed to fit. They were slow, few and seemed to show up in and around the house in such small numbers that we swore it was always the same bug. That has all changed……we are now jaded, hardened, with angry thoughts and disturbed sleep, thanks to the vile Herkimer.
These horrible, stinking, buzzing, tenacious demons have suddenly taken over our lives. They have appeared in droves to occupy space on the outside of our house, under the eaves, inside our patio umbrella, under the barbecue cover and anywhere they can hide or just sit and sun themselves.
At first we started our battle by flicking them off whatever they were invading . That was not near enough…..we got the hose. With the nozzle set to jet we blasted the little beasts off the walls and eaves. Many of them were forcefully sent down below into the space between the house and deck. Aside from the smell (the odor they apparently release when being jetted either to death or a new location smells like really strong cilantro in a very bad way), our efforts seemed to be productive!……for about five minutes. Soon the little deathless, tank-like plague came crawling up the wall like some sort of horror film insect zombies! Hundreds of them on one wall!
Now, just to clarify, I am not usually a bug-killing kind of person. I will usually gently escort unwanted creatures to a place that is better for them. Even slugs in my garden have found themselves being lifted by a gloved hand and placed in a damp, leafy spot where garden clippings and shade reside (I call it slug heaven). I have relocated a lot of slugs this year, but this disgusting abomination was more than I could take…….STOMP! I found myself in a frenzy of knocking down and squishing the multitudes that were overtaking the side of my house….I’m still hating myself….. and the smell that will never leave my nostrils.
I suddenly realized I couldn’t live with myself if I continued, nor could I endure the smell, or the bugs that were still living. I resorted to the internet. Apparently there are a few chemicals that might work…..that is out of the question. As you can guess, the slug-whisperer doesn’t use toxic chemicals in the same yard where hummingbirds feed, cats romp, and a forest of feathered friends chirp, tweet and caw. But wait…..I read about dish soap….it dehydrates them and they DIE! I can’t let these evil invaders live…they just might consume my house (and my soul), they are giving us the willies and they are making me never want to use cilantro again. If I escort them to slug heaven they will surely come right back, and well….it would take a month and a lot of creepiness.
My husband was immediately onboard with this idea, and promptly filled the big pump sprayer with our eco-
friendly dish soap and water. And they were sprayed……they sat…….they died. Let the killing begin!!!!
He sprayed and sprayed. He went around the whole house. They started dropping, and more appeared…..out of every crack! More spray, stink and more dead. We noticed that some died right away, and some kept going until they would flip upside down and die. Finally…..the repulsive job was done. Dead bodies with legs pointing skyward occupied all of our walkways, patio and deck. We sat in the aftermath of the dead Herkimers with a feeling of abhorrent accomplishment. It was time for a shower and a stiff drink.
After our attempts to recoup our happier selves after our deeds of destruction, and after some fitful sleep, we woke to a beautiful morning of promise….the whole event can be left in the past. With coffee in hand we headed out to enjoy our peaceful bug-free deck………..They’re back!