AUBURN, Ala.— Gardeners deal with a myriad of pests and problems throughout the summer, some worse than others. Stinkbugs are among those pesky pests taking up residence in the garden.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Gardens and Home Pests Agent, Bethany O’Rear, said stinkbugs can affect several home vegetable crops.
“Stinkbugs will feed on peas, beans and okra, but are most noticeable on tomatoes and peppers,” O’Rear said.
Choose a Method of Control
Sevin Dust is a popular choice for insect control in the garden, but O’Rear said it is not as effective as some of the pyrethroid insecticides.
“Pyrethroid insecticides are those that have active ingredients that commonly end in –thrin or –ate,” she said. “Some examples are bifenthrin, cyfluthrin and esfenvalerate, all of which offer effective stink bug control.”
It is important to alternate active ingredients and modes of action, because insect pests can build up resistance to the same insecticide used repetitively. Gardeners need to do research before they apply, as there is no “silver bullet” insecticide that will control all insect pests.
Stinkbug Control Timing
O’Rear said the timing and frequency of stinkbug control options will depend on several factors.
- Severity of infestation. How bad is the problem in your garden? The label will list suggested frequency of insecticide applications.
- Active ingredient chosen. Frequency rate of application is listed on the insecticide label. Always read the label; the label is the law! Insecticides will also list a pre-harvest interval (PHI) on the label. Each active ingredient and crop being sprayed will have a different PHI. For example, the PHI for controlling stink bugs on tomatoes with a particular insecticide can vary greatly with the PHI for that same insecticide, if controlling stink bugs on okra.
- Time of year. Later in the year, the likelihood of migrating adults flying into your garden increases. Late summer and fall are terrible for stink bugs. Adult stinkbugs migrate in late summer and early fall. Getting rid of the stinkbugs in your garden this week won’t necessarily protect you from the ones that fly in next week.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Resources
For more information, visit www.aces.edu, or contact your local Extension agent. There are many resources available for the home gardener. Find tips on making your garden less susceptible to insect pests here, and find other tips on deterring garden pests here.
Photo in story by SusanEllis, bugwood.org. Featured image by Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org.