Stink bugs in containers....dammit.

alisande(Zone 4b)August 19, 2005

We called them squash bugs, and I battled them for years on the zucchini, crookneck, and winter squash plants. I haven't grown squash here in five years or so, so I really would have thought they'd stake out new territory. But today I found them all over my container-grown tomatoes, and the tomatoes themselves are a mess. I couldn't believe it. I'm so discouraged! I've taken such good care of these plants, and the tomatoes have been beautiful and delicious. Now large numbers of fruit are ripening, but most of them don't look like something you'd want to eat.

I've been reading posts about stink bugs, and apparently Sevin is the answer for some. Any opinions on its toxicity? Or more benign (to humans) suggestions?

Thanks very much!


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alisande(Zone 4b)

I just read this:

If only a few plants are affected, it is most effective to hand pick and destroy squash bugs and eggs. Another option is to place boards or shingles on the ground next to the plants. At night the squash bugs will aggregate under the boards and can then be destroyed each morning.

Not sure if the board idea will work with containers, but I think it's worth a try.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:18PM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Stink or leaf footed bugs are tough to deal with. Sevin is one of the few things I know of that are actually highly effective against them. As far as toxicity, you'll have to make the call. Just be aware that it cannot be applied up to the day of harvesting (3 days pre-harvest interval for the dust, if I recall correctly).

As far as other suggestions go, some use diatomaceous earth dusted on the soil surface and the plants (for your safety it is a -must- that you wear eye and mouth/nose protection while applying).

Since you've already got them anyway, another one may be to grow some ornamental millet elsewhere on your property away from the tomatoes. I've had stink and leaf-footed bugs for years, but they always stay on the clumps of millet in the ornamental beds (the seed heads will always just be covered in the nasty things), and they just don't bother the tomatoes one bit. Purple Majesty is a particularly lovely variety.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:20PM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

I had completely forgotten about SurroundWP until today when I was reading over on the vegetable forum.

If you do a google search, you'll see that stink bugs are one of the pests it is reputed to suppress (I've never used it myself).

Here's a link on its use for apples that is rather interesting:

insect IPM in apples

Here is a link that might be useful: Surround thread in vegetable forum

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 5:03PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Thanks! I'll have to read up on Surround. Last evening I was startled to find these same bugs on my plums!

Do you suppose our extremely dry conditions are responsible for this?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:22AM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Do you suppose our extremely dry conditions are responsible for this?

I don't think so -- folks in Florida also have problems with stink and leaf-footed bugs and it's plenty humid there.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 4:45PM
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