My urban orchard has a number of citrus trees. As I have neighbours who treat trees as outdoor ornaments rather than living things, their trees are infested with bugs, and as these bugs have wings, I have them.
We call them ‘stink bugs’ (Musgraveia sulciventris). They squirt a vile smelling liquid at you whenever they feel threatened. The poison is loaded with caustic chemicals that could blind you if they enter your eyes or cause severe irritations to your skin.
I look after my trees but getting rid of unwanted neighbours has become a daily ritual. Yesterday during the heat wave I noticed a number of them on one of my citrus. Usually you can pick them off with a gloved hand but I clipped off that portion of the stem and stomped on them instead.
I’ve noticed that on a hot day they obligingly gather on the top branches of the trees so they make easy targets. Recently I read that they migrate DOWN the tree when it’s hot – now should I believe the garden gurus or my own eyes?
If your trees are covered with them, the easiest thing to do is to vacuum them up then throw away the vacuum cleaner, unless you keep one for this purpose. It is impossible to get rid of the smell of a tree-full of stink bugs.
The baby bugs are green and hard to spot but then they turn orange so that’s the time to nap them. The mature bugs are black and harder to see but they are still relatively easy to catch as they would shuffle away from you rather than fly. Don’t ask me why.
Once you have them you can drown them in a bucket of soapy water or throw them on the ground and step on them. I prefer the latter; it’s more satisfying and I don’t always have a bucket of soapy water on hand.
Afterwards your gloves and shoes would stink for a while but it’s a small price to pay. If left unchecked the bugs could suck the life out of your trees. It’s what they do. May you never encounter one of these creatures.