|Elderberry juice for the stinkbugs means less elderberry juice|
for the berries
And if you're in the conservation or agriculture industries, you've heard all of this doom-and-gloom stuff about how this invasive bug will destroy fruit, vegetable, bean, and grain crops. Sounds bad, but I had no frame of reference personally. Now I do. They are here. All year long, for the first time.
Our yard is full of mostly native shrubs that I've planted for wildlife over the last seven years. Some of them have neat stories behind them, like the black elderberry above, which was rescued from a construction site, and others have actual history behind them, like the Redbud a few pictures below, which was given to me by my wife's grandfather just before he passed away in 2005. So while I don't douse my shrubs in chemicals, I treat them well. I like them.
I also wanted to show you what early stinkbug damage looks like. This redbud has lost turgor, or cell pressure, in the outer margins of this leaf. That's because Ol' Stinky has sucked the plant juices out, resulting in "leaf roll." Check it out:
As the feeding continues, something happens physiologically to the leaves and nearby buds (or immature fruit) - it just dies. Here's what advanced leaf damage from stinkbug feeding looks like on a lilac bush:
So........I sprayed for the first time this year. I'm sure it's bad for the bees and so many other beneficial insects, but I just can't stand the thought of losing multiple plants to this invasive bug. I don't yet know what the best insecticide is for them, so I won't hazard a guess. But if you've read this far - look at the photos again - at least you can know if the stinkbugs have decided to take up residence in your yard, forest, orchard, or garden. Good luck!