Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Battle of the Bugs

We have been camping on a farm in Haymarket, Virginia for the past 9 days and have 5 more days to go. We have wondered if we can endure much longer. We are within a few miles of several Civil War Battlefields, the Democrats and Republicans are battling it out a few miles east of here, and today, for us, was a hard fought battle for dominion over our RV. The enemy: Stink Bugs.

Last week, we noticed that on warm afternoons they were very much attracted to our RV and a few made their way inside. Well, this week the weather has gotten even warmer. The kids and I were out visiting the Natural History Museum in D.C. yesterday (trying to squeeze in a trip before the government shut down) so we missed the barrage that occurred mid-day. At one point, I emailed with Kelly to let him know we made it and give a status update, to which he replied, "Been fighting the bugs all day - I think they are winning..." At the time, I thought he was just being humorous. But after today, I know he was quite serious.

Note the ones in and around the door. And this wasn't even the height of it.

I went out to the store at lunch for rations and to look for some better weaponry. Kelly had read that mint or wintergreen flavored alcohol in a spray bottle would work and had made his first few attacks with that over the weekend. Our RV began to get a slightly green tinge, but the enemy was not fooled by the camouflage. So, at Lowes Home Improvement, I found a target specific entrapment device called a Rescue SBTR Reusable Stink Bug Trap. The reviews were not promising, but we were desperate. I also purchased EcoSMART 33117 Ready to Use Organic Garden Insect Killer with Trigger Sprayer, 24-Ounce that had some strong herbs in the ingredients list. Supposedly, these little buggies do not like strong smells, which is rather ironic considering they excrete a nasty smelling liquid when frightened or squashed! 

By the time I returned to the RV this afternoon, Kelly had closed the slide as they were getting through the seals. He said that at one point he looked up and the ceiling was covered with them and he could not work from the distraction of catching them. The best method for getting rid of them once inside is to flick them into a cupful of soapy water so that their scent is captured as they drown. While we would prefer deterrents, once the enemy is inside it is death by drowning.

NASTY! and Stinky!
We have captured three cups like the above today which included a final sweep for hostiles before bed - we think enemy casualties are in the hundreds. No doubt, there are a few hiding in some dark corners but we hope they will lie dormant through the night or find their way into our trap. The EcoSmart spray does seem to deter the enemy somewhat and I have another mentholated soap concoction to throw at them tomorrow as the weather is expected to be sunny and warm. Now to bed for tomorrow we fight!

I'll leave a comment once the verdict is in on the success of the trap.

UPDATE: We are in North Carolina now. The Rescue Stink Bug Trap was an utter failure. After capturing several hundred stink bugs in cups of soapy water, not one found it's way into the trap in 12 days. I took it back to the store and was able to get a full refund at Lowe's Home Improvement. The Ecosmart bugspray however, was a great deterrent. It did need to be reapplied several times but it kept the stink bugs at bay. I just wish we had it on hand initially because we are still finding stink bugs four weeks later - all the ones that got in before we realized the seriousness of the issue. When we find one we kill it for fear of infesting NC with the little buggers as they are not native to the United States. They will keep appearing as we travel to warmer areas south. We will eventually be rid of the things - I hope!
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