Stink bugs are about as useful to the world as the majority of online political arguments. Out here in Pennsylvania, we have a lovely little invasive species of stink bugs that has managed to worm its way into every aspect of our lives.
According to Wikipedia, the most trustworthy source this side of the government, stink bugs were introduced to the United States in 1998. Honestly, “invaded” would be a better verb than “introduced”, because the foul creatures probably latched on to a gently used septic tank from Antarctica and snuck in. Regardless, whoever “introduced” stink bugs to America is probably the same person who introduced speed boats to manatees.
The term “introduced” is misleading because it gives the impression that stink bugs are casual tourists who traveled from their presumably smelly homeland to see how the slovenly Americans go about their feeble lives. I also imagine someone opening a little box with the eager stink bugs peering out. “See?” their human guide tells them. “This is America. America, these are stink bugs. Golly will you ever be best friends.”
However it worked out, it seems the majority of the stink bug horde settled at our house. In case these stink bugs ever move out of my house, I want people to be prepared for what they’ll face.
As you can see from the giant picture at the top of this blog, they are angular-looking creatures that would only win a beauty contest if the judges were concussed repeatedly and then dumped in boiling lava. Rumor has it that when military scientists first encountered stink bugs, they promptly invented napalm.
When stink bugs aren’t flying around like drunken pilots in a gyrocopter, they’re slowly creeping along some surface at the same speed as a depressed tortoise. The bulk of their existence seems to be a sense of futility, interrupted only by the times they decide to make people miserable by stinking up the place.
I used to think that they would only discharge their rancid odor once I crushed them. Well, my wife found out the hard way that these versatile insects can unleash their foul fumes whenever they see fit. She was warming up the shower water when a stink bug flew into it. The prospect of not smelling like ripe garbage frightened the pathetic insect, so it promptly activated its stench stream into the shower.
If you’ve never smelled an angry stink bug, it basically smells like what disco would smell like it if had a scent, i.e., rotten pumpkins that have just been fished out of industrial waste. In any event, the odor filled the room, causing my wife to gag a bit because she, like most normal people, doesn’t want to smell like decomposing vegetation. Naturally, she grabbed thirty Bath and Body Works candles to counteract the smell.
On a side note, I suspected that stink bugs were in cahoots with Bath and Body Works, given that stink bugs will guarantee them business for centuries to come.
Anyway, to prevent ourselves from going through a million candles a year, we have adopted an ancient Egyptian technique for disposing of stink bugs: we grab them in a tissue and hurl them out the front door. Our alternate approach is a little less hectic (and very Shakespearian): we gently grasp them in a tissue, then, in a burst of poetic justice, flush them down the toilet. After all, stink bugs can spray their stench all they want in the sewer pipes, and no one would notice (except maybe Andy Dufresne).
As appropriate as toilet death was for the stink bugs, it had the unfortunate side effect of raising our water bill (yes, we had that many stink bugs). While I’m all in favor of poetic justice, I’m much more in favor of not spending that much money on it.
Nowadays, I don’t worry too much about stink bugs, mostly because my older son has appointed himself the stink bug sentinel, and he will yell “STINK BUG!!!” every time he finds one, which is about every five minutes. He then goes into what I can only assume is a three-year-old’s version of a war dance until I get rid of the bug. Ah, to be young again…
My younger son tries to play with them, so there’s that.
But I don’t want people to think I spend all my time complaining. I spent several months researching positive elements of stink bugs. That said, here’s my full list of what stink bugs contribute to the world:
- Literally nothing
I briefly entertained the idea of introducing weaponized praying mantises into our house to take care of the stink bugs. I figure people will appreciate the phrase “take care of” since it’s just as accurate as “introduced.”
Follow me in a completely non-creepy way: