Living in the woods as we do most of the time, one has to expect wildlife. But, by and large, we’ve had very little bug-intrusion into our living space. We did manage to pick up black ants in Alafia River State Park during our first few months of RV living, but ant traps and months traveling through the desert eliminated that issue. We may see the occasional spider or fly inside the bus, but that’s about it. We saw more critters living in our South Florida house.
Enter …. the brown marmorated stink bug. We had been happily drifting through Tennessee and North Carolina, blissfully unaware of this unpleasant nuisance. However, when we arrived at our current camping spot near Greensboro, NC, we extended our slides to find that at a dozen or so had invaded our living space. We weren’t sure what we were dealing with at first, as these square-ish insects flew clumsily around, bumbling into walls and windows.
After catching and squashing the initial infestation, it became quickly apparent that we were dealing with stink bugs! I don’t know whether we had picked them up in Hendersonville and brought them along or acquired them here. But, as we started looking around, we realized that they were everywhere.
The brown marmorated stinkbug is not native to the US. Accidently imported from Asia into Pennsylvania in 1998 (presumably in cargo), it has spread throughout the US. With no native predators, it has become a particular pest in orchards in the east, causing millions of dollars in lost crops. And we are in one of the hot spots.
The stinkbugs survive winter by seeking inside spaces in the Fall. They don’t eat anything or reproduce, they just hibernate there until Spring. But, during their Fall drive for inside, they can worm their way through the tiniest cracks into your home. And, although our slide seals seem to be adequate barriers for most unwelcome visitors, these little buggers seem to be able to get through. And they are tough little buggers — conventional traps and insect sprays are ineffective. You just have to catch them and either squash or drown ’em.
So, now we’re on stinkbug patrol. We make rounds a couple of times per day, inside and out, disposing of any stinkbugs we see. The weather is getting much cooler here and we’ve noticed that the bugs are far less active. It looks as though we’ll be able to clear our bus of stinky stowaways before migrating back to Florida.