Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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BMSB

For those of you south and west of us get ready for an invasion of the Brown Marmarated Stink Bug (BMSB), if it hasn't already been introduced to you.  The bug has become incredibly out of control where we are in Maryland.  We lost all of our corn (250'X60'), they lowered our tomato yields 90% and now they are invading the home.

We sealed the inside of our windows in late August and any crack we could find inside the house and out.  If I may indulge you, when the insulation can says to wear gloves they mean it.  It is a different and embarrassing story so I will just keep it to myself.  The directions also tell you to wear goggles and some other stuff, which are all important.  But, the gloves yeah, you need the gloves.

The stinkbugs are in every nook and cranny under everything that has a flat surface and an edge.  We have seen them pilled and packed so deep onto each other that they look like part of the building.  You would have to take a second look to realize that what you are seeing is a living caulk of stinkbugs.

They like South-West facing buildings but, because there are so many of them to fit, you will find them all around the building.  I read they are attracted to white. What I have noticed is that the greatest concentration of these bugs has been on the southwest sides of the house, barn and milking shed.  It was in the middle of September, we were putting the tractor away in the barn mid-afternoon the sun was out but it was cooler than usual.  I am driving to the barn and the paint job looks horrible, sometimes when a large group of birds fly over we have found our house or barn have been used for precision target practice by the flock.  At first I thought that might be the case again but as the tractor came closer to the barn I could see the specks moving.  I knew what it was but I had never seen the amount that I was now looking at.  I called every body from what they were doing in order so that they could see this sight.

There had to be thousands of bugs completely covering the back wall of the three-story barn.  It was just one of those moments when you have a flash of lucidness and you think “What the @#$% am I doing here?”  Nevertheless, it is just a flash so I ignored the unsettling sight and got everybody back to work.    

It is the same way with the house, which is white also.  I read in our local paper that quoted an EPA scientist as saying in essence if something is not done about this quickly these bugs have the potential to put Integrated Pest Management practices back thirty-years.  We lost our corn and tomato crops, local conventional orchards are losing between twenty-five and thirty-percent of their harvest.  This cannot be allowed to happen.

Moreover, these bugs are moving.  BMSB was first found in Allentown PA., in 1998, they are now all across the United States and they are causing damage and failures like ours.  All of the farmers around me are trying things and we are all sharing ideas and results of our own testing but so far, nothing has come from our trials and the authorities are trying to find something for conventional people.  As with every problem, we will adjust however or whatever is needed.  In the mean time,

 

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