A "Stink Bug-pocalypse?"
All signs and news stories like this one are pointing to a stink bug plague of "biblical proportions" this year. Is this overly dramatic? Perhaps. But when your home -- your sanctuary -- is threatened by these smelly pests, it doesn't take that many to make you pull your hair out.
Some readers have said they are killing 40-50 a day in their homes. This gentleman claims to have killed over 12,000 of them in his Maryland farmhouse.
What about you? We want to hear more about your stink bug situation where you live. Please share with us below... or better yet, on our Facebook page, where we occasionally post contests and give away prizes!
More about the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap
A comment on our last blog post brought up some good points and questions about the product that we want to answer here.
Q: Will the Stink Bug Trap attract more stink bugs onto your property that wouldn't ordinarily be there?
A: No. The RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap will catch stink bugs within a 20-foot radius. It will attract the bugs that are already in your yard and prevent them from damaging your garden or getting in your house. All of our RESCUE! traps work this way, in fact -- it's a misconception to believe that they lure insects from all over the neighborhood.
Q: Will the trap work indoors?
A: No, the trap is intended for use outdoors to prevent the stink bugs from doing damage in your garden or getting inside your house. Once stink bugs are inside your house, they do not respond to the pheromone lures. If our testing leads us to a solution for catching stink bugs indoors, we will most certainly share that.
Q: Some stink bugs are beneficial. Will the trap catch them along with the pests?
A: We recognize that some stink bugs, like the Spined Soldier Bug, are beneficial. The RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap will catch the stink bugs that are pests and leave the beneficial insects alone.
Keep your questions coming!
Got a Stink Bug problem? Thanks to RESCUE!, there's a trap for that!
(tap, tap, tap) Is this thing on?
Just checking the microphone and sound system since we haven't broadcast anything here in a while.
We're back... with big news. Many of you have asked us about a solution for stink bugs. Since last September, they've received major media attention when their numbers exploded in the U.S. The stink bug has been called a "terrorist bug" by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and its spread was deemed a "national crisis" in a letter written by Bartlett and 14 other members of Congress.
(So, does this mean that we can say "RESCUE! solves national crisis"? I like the sound of that headline!)
Stink Bugs damage fruit, vegetables and farm crops -- but when they invade the indoors in colder weather, they really raise a stink. With no natural predators, stink bugs have been discovered in 30 states to this point. Michigan was added to the list last week.
Available for shipments in July 2011, the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap works outdoors to catch adult stink bugs before they enter homes, as well as the younger generations that damage gardens and fruit trees. The trap lures multiple species of stink bugs with pheromone attractants that are odor-free to humans.
The reusable trap comes with a 2-week attractant supply and is expected to be priced at $19.99 retail. A 7-week attractant refill will be sold separately for $9.99 retail.
Testing of the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap was conducted at the USDA's 800-acre facility in Beltsville, MD. Sterling designed both the trap and the controlled-release technology for the pheromone. Though difficult and expensive to produce, the pheromones will be manufactured in-house thanks to Sterling's expertise in chemical synthesis.
Established in 1982, Sterling International, Inc. sells its RESCUE! traps and attractants for wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, flies, Japanese beetles and Oriental beetles through home improvement centers, hardware stores and lawn & garden retailers throughout the U.S. and beyond. The traps are manufactured in the USA at Sterling's headquarters in Spokane, Washington.
Sickened by stings
If you are allergic to wasp, hornet or yellowjacket stings, you know that it only takes one to cause a life-threatening reaction.
But sometimes, you're not aware of your allergy until it's nearly too late. Take the case of a Puyallup, Washington man who is on a ventilator after getting stung on the Fourth of July. According to his brother, "He's never been allergic to bees (yellowjackets). He's had tons and tons of stings in his whole life. Never had an allergic reaction, ever."
That gentleman is one of five people in western Washington who were treated recently for anaphylactic shock after being stung.
Here's the complete story from KOMO News in Seattle.
A UK man accidentally fell onto a bush that contained a large wasp or yellowjacket nest and was stung over 200 times.
The man was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.
First monster yellowjacket nest sighting of the season
A couple in Pasco County, Florida recently found a monster yellowjacket nest on the outside of a tree while hiking through the woods. They called in the experts, who suited up before destroying the nest with soapy foam and a shovel.
The nest likely contained multiple queens and thousands of yellowjackets. Yikes!
Wasps attack schoolchildren
This is what happens when you throw rocks at a wasp nest, as 30 schoolchildren in Australia learned the hard way last week.
Video of the Week: Bill Gates releases live mosquitoes on stage
This story sounds like something we joke about here at RESCUE! headquarters: "Hey, let's release live yellowjackets at the trade show -- that'll get attention!"
The joking never goes any further because, well, we recognize that it's dangerous... and just absurd.
But those concerns didn't deter Bill Gates. Speaking
yesterday Wednesday at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Conference in Long Beach, California, Gates got lots of "buzz" when he released mosquitoes into a packed auditorium to highlight the dangers of malaria.
He let the shocked audience sweat for about 20 seconds before assuring them that the insects were malaria-free. You can see the moment about 5 minutes into this video:
The stunt notwithstanding, Gates makes some good points about devoting resources to preventing the spread of preventable diseases. He pointed out that more money is spent on developing a cure for baldness than stopping malaria.
Sounds like we need to hurry up and develop this personal mosquito repellent device, as it's badly needed by many people... including those in Gates' audience!
Woman attempts bank robbery with bug spray
A woman walked into a bank in Lakewood, Colorado earlier this month, demanding money and claiming to have a bomb, but police said all she had was a can of Raid bug spray.
Insects as weapons of terror?
Have you ever felt like insects were terrorizing you?
The fear that insects invoke, not to mention the disease they can transmit, has led some to consider their use as weapons -- including Jeffrey Lockwood, professor of entomology at Wyoming University and author of Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War.
"Six-Legged Soldiers describes many potential or actual uses of insects as offensive weapons during the past 100,000 years, with an emphasis on the past 300 years. Entomologist Jeffrey Lockwood describes how stinging and highly toxic insects and other arthropods have been used to cause pain and suffering to foes — from the use of bees and hornets by early humans to attack enemies, to the assassin bugs used by an Uzbek emir for torture in the early 1800s."
Lockwood's book discusses the possibility of an insect-borne plague unleashed offensively, but insects have long been a threat to the military by their naturally-occurring presence where the wars are fought.
The U.S. Army has a Medical Entomology division, which got its start when Maj. Walter Reed discovered that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever -- which, along with other diseases degraded the military's ability to fight. In World War II, the Army recognized the importance of controlling vector-borne diseases and began commissioning entomologists. (For more on the history of entomology and the U.S. military, visit this link.)
And speaking of the military, our company actually has a role in the pest management efforts of the U.S. military, with our current research into a personal mosquito repellent device under a Department of Defense grant.
Biker minutes from death after wasp sting
A wasp sting can happen when you least expect it... and the consequences can be dire. Here's a story out of Llandovery in the UK. A 61-year-old woman was out with her husband for a day in the country on their motorcycles. They stopped for lunch, she had a bite of an apple, and was stung on her upper lip by a wasp which had been resting on it. They rode to a nearby house to ask for help. She collapsed from anaphylactic shock shortly thereafter, with her airway tightening. Thankfully the paramedics arrived just in time to revive her.
You can read more here.
Paper wasps communicate Buddhist message?
If people can see the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, then I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that some Buddhists in Rochester, Minnesota believe that paper wasps have built a nest in the shape of a sitting Buddha in a sheltered eave on the outside of a temple.
A monk at the temple suggested that the wasps are trying to communicate a Buddhist message of peace and serenity. Guess he's never been stung by a wasp before.
Folks in Tampa, FL are buzzing...
The link from Fox 13 in Tampa contains video that is worth watching.
The yellowjackets got a little creative in building,as the nest has unusual "tendrils" growing out from it.
Across the pond, folks in Scotland also had a recent yellowjacket wasp scare. A museum in Glasgow, the People's Palace, had to close temporarily because of a wasp nest on the top floor which caused two staffers to be stung.
Video of the Week: The "Halloween Bug"
This week's video concerns Asian ladybugs -- the species Harmonia axyridis. These ladybugs are a headache for homeowners because they like to spend the winter indoors in large clusters, and emit a foul stench if they are disturbed. Since their infestation usually occurs in late October, and some of them are more orange than red, they are sometimes referred to as "Halloween Bugs".
Here's a recent article about Asian ladybugs from an Illinois newspaper, and here's a link to some archived blog entries about Asian ladybugs.
And here's a video of a news report from last year's ladybug invasion in Lawrence, Kansas:
Good news, men!
In case you were wondering... Swiss scientists have found that wasp stings do not cause male infertility.
Fall is the time for flies
This time of year, the common house fly has an additional place to breed beyond the usual manure, compost piles, dumpsters, etc.... and that is turned-over tomato fields and vegetable gardens.
This article from TheHorse.com explains more.
Most notable quote:
"Calculated over an entire summer season, a pair of house flies could produce 191 quintillion flies, enough to cover the earth 47 feet deep, if all their progeny were to survive."
Wow. Good thing we have the RESCUE! Fly Trap to catch that progeny.
Video of the Week: Paper Wasps have tiny brains but big memories
Our Video of the Week dovetails off yesterday's blog post regarding paper wasps' capacity to remember social encounters. A recent study by the University of Michigan found that a paper wasp, specifically the species Polistes fuscatus, can remember an individual wasp counterpart for at least a week.
Here's a video that describes the findings of the study.
Paper Wasps never forget a face
Remembrance Of Tussles Past: Paper Wasps Show Surprisingly Strong Memory For Previous Encounters
ScienceDaily (2008-09-22) -- With brains less than a millionth the size of humans', paper wasps hardly seem like mental giants. But new research shows that these insects can remember individuals for at least a week, even after meeting and interacting with many other wasps in the meantime. ... > read full article
Yellowjackets disrupt school bus stop, mail delivery
Yellowjackets were in the news last week, making their presence known in the West.
Kennewick, Washington: Five children were stung while waiting for a school bus.
4 Honored for Japanese Beetle fight
Japanese Beetle, this town ain't big enough for the both of us.
That's what they said in Orem, Utah -- and it worked! Two years ago, folks there became serious about battling the spread of Japanese Beetles. Agriculture officials established a take-no-prisoner attitude toward holding off the beetle invasion in their hometown.
Four people, including the Mayor of Orem, were recently honored for their efforts to put the beetles on the run. Their efforts were so successful that only 98 beetles were found in traps this year, compared to 2100 in the previous year.
Wasps & yellowjacket attacks make news
Here's a roundup of late summer yellowjacket and wasp stories from around the U.S.
Clark County, WA: Yellowjackets wage attack (A 14-year old girl gets stung, then notices her two small dogs covered in yellowjackets.)
Bethesda, MD: Wasps buzz in, postal carriers bug out
Angola, IN: The neighborhood is buzzing now that I'm back (A columnist details her experience of finding yellowjackets swarming inside her bathroom and a nest inside her house wall.)
Madison Township, OH: Yellowjackets attack beagle (The poor dog suffered an allergic reaction to about 150 stings and had to be put down.)
Vermilion, OH: Speeder's defense: Dozens of wasp stings (Pulled over for speeding, a man had just suffered 30 to 50 wasp stings and was trying to rush to the hospital on his motorcycle. He collapsed when the officer detained him, but a police cruiser was able to get him to the Emergency Room in time.)
Eau Claire, WI: Man dies from wasp sting (Devastating story. A man saw a nail sticking up from his deck and pounded it back in with a hammer. Little did he know there was a wasp nest underneath. He collapsed after a single sting on his elbow.)
Cape May, NJ: Cape May beachgoers bugged (Wasps are living in the sand dunes and dive-bombing tourists.)
Brazil, IN: Yellowjackets and bees nearing peak
Bismarck, ND: Wasp and yellowjacket season is just beginning (Says Judy Carlson of the Department of Agriculture, "A lot of people wonder if it's a wasp or a hornet or a yellowjacket" that's bothering them.)Psst! Hey Judy! That's why they need W*H*Y!
Poop at the pump... could bug excrement power our cars?
With gas at $4 a gallon and politicians bickering about whether to drill here in our country, some scientists are getting creative about new ways to replace $140-a-barrel oil from Saudi Arabia.
A Silicon Valley company led by a former Shell executive and funded in part by Sun Micro-systems' co-founder is genetically altering microscopic bugs to make them excrete crude oil.
Bugs obliterated his life savings
It's common to inspect a house for termites, but a trader in India is wishing he had checked for the bugs at his bank. The unfortunate man had stashed currency and valuable papers in a safe deposit box, but a termite infestation at the bank meant that the insects feasted on his retirement savings.
Spaghetti weevil eradicated!
Today marks the 51st anniversary of an important event in pest control history. Thanks to a mild winter and the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil in 1957, Switzerland enjoyed a bumper spaghetti crop.
Pasta lovers the world over rejoiced that they could continue to enjoy real, homegrown spaghetti, and that the crop was no longer threatened by this bug.
You may be wondering, as people first did upon hearing the news, how can I grow my own spaghetti tree?
According to the BBC, just "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
Ladybugs let loose in Manhattan
Some 720,000 ladybugs experienced culture shock last week as they were moved from the big sky country of Montana to the metropolis of Manhattan.
The red-and-black insects were purchased for the purpose of picking off pests among the greenery of one of New York's biggest apartment complexes, covering 80 acres on the East Side. The ladybugs' job will be to disperse among the plants, flowers and shrubs that dot the complex, and destroy and eat pestiferous aphids and mites.
The owner of the apartment complex purchased the ladybugs from one of our online customers, Planet Natural of Bozeman, Montana. Owner Eric Vinje has been offering his customers the RESCUE! Reusable Yellowjacket Trap, Disposable Yellowjacket Trap, Disposable Fly Trap and Japanese Beetle Trap for years.
Aside from selling the ladybugs themselves (at $16.50 for 2,000), Planet Natural sells a ladybug attractant as well as attractants for other beneficial insects. They also have the remaining stock of an attractant formerly part of the RESCUE line: the RESCUE! Soldier Bug Attractor to lure the beneficial Spined Soldier Bug.
By employing the ladybugs, the owner of the apartment complex is hoping to avoid using chemical insecticides. Vinge says that each ladybug can patrol a 19-inch by 19-inch piece of land and eat up to 50 pests a day.
Vinje also stresses that this is not the Asian ladybug that has become a pest itself by taking up residence inside homes. The Latin name for the Asian ladybug is Harmonia axyridis, while the NYC ladybugs are Hippodamia convergens.
Why so many wasps?
A mild winter and dry spring and summer equal prime conditions for wasp and yellowjacket numbers to grow. Melbourne, Australia is experiencing large numbers of wasps this year as they head into fall.
Prosecution uses paper wasp theory
Prosecutors in a murder trial in Bakersfield, CA are using bugs to prove their case against Vincent Brothers, who is accused of killing his own family.
A bug expert from UC Davis examined the grill of the car Brothers rented in Ohio. She pointed to the presence of paper wasps and other bugs on the grill as evidence that Brothers drove the car cross-country to California. According to her, the bug species she collected from the car can only be found in the western U.S.
His defense is claiming Brothers did not have time to drive from Ohio to California to commit the murders.
Giant hornets in Europe
From the article:
"Swarms of giant hornets renowned for their vicious stings and skill at massacring honeybees have settled in France."
Their bite "has been compared to a hot nail entering the body."
Asian hornets are over an inch long, with a wingspan of three inches. The queens are over two inches in length.
Anyone freaking out yet?
Wasps: Deadlier than sharks
According to this article, more people in Australia die from bee and wasp stings than from shark attacks.
"But while the fear of an attack by a Great White may keep some people safely on the sand, figures released by the Medical Journal of Australia show that dog attacks, lightning strikes and bee or wasp stings are more likely to be fatal."
Wasps as a weapon
You know what they say about a woman scorned... First the news about the astronaut Lisa Nowak arrested in Florida, and now this: A California woman has been arrested for using wasps to try to kill her ex-husband.
Apparently the woman's ex is allergic to wasps, and in December someone planted a grape soda can filled with wasps in the man's pickup. When he turned on the heater, the wasps flew out, nearly causing him to crash his truck.