Little something to get your minds off the Dow dungheap: stink bugs.
Until recently, I had only an idle interest in these curious creatures, the latest in a line of media-borne plagues (killer bees, Lyme-bearing ticks, fire ants, bed bugs, etc.).
I’d seen evidence of their eastern Pennsylvania invasion last October riding the Bolt bus from D.C. to New York. Each time the bus paused in traffic, an army of wee brown-shielded insects glommed onto its sides, like frat boys at a car wash. The bus would sputter and shake, and they’d disband. How cute, I thought. Besides, who’s a-skeered of a little odious odor?
The occasional specimen has since penetrated our personal perimeter, but a half-can of Raid usually took care of it, effectively chasing any unsavory scent (not counting Raid).
Then, last weekend on my power walk, armed only with cellphone, iPod, Power-Shot and Bushnell binoculars, I encountered not one but two stink bugs (that’s an increase of 100%, a veritable swarm) hitchhiking, not on a silly ol’ bus, but on MY ACTUAL UPPER BODY NEAR MY NECK.
After the paramedics left, I got to thinking: You know, these guitar-pick pests aren’t so harmless. They made front-page news in today’s Washington Post because government entomologists perceive the goal of this “invasive species” is, ultimately, to climb into our beds at night, steal our human warmth and eat all of our peaches!
I’m trying not to panic. Always been a fan of nature. For millennia, living creatures have explored, expanded their vistas, seized new niches, sought better living arrangements, capitalized on food and mating supplies … I feel it’s not up to us to quell any organism’s drive to propagate, not even the funkiest among us.
I ask you, is it the creature’s fault it was brought here from Asia? Probably came over as larvae and spent its entire life here. The little rascal knows no other home. Bugs know no borders.
At what point does an invasive species cease being “invasive”?
After it has conquered its corner of the ecosystem and the “Us” and “Them” tables are turned, I suppose.
You know, those same mad scientists who f-f-f-f-ear the lowly stink bug are now thinking about rallying yet another invasive species, a parasitic Asian wasp, to control this pestilence — a move that, as I see it, would only compound the problem, further throwing off the balance of nature and scales of justice. Even stink bugs know their territorial rights.
We humans bandy about the term “pesticide” loosely, but when you think of it, those who would engage in pest control are performing a form of genocide — OK, insecticide — but, still, trying to wipe out a gene pool on the basis of looks and perceived motives of malice, greed and lechery alone. Fear. Plain, unadulterated, marmorated fear. Goodness, we don’t even speak the Halyomorpha halys‘ language.
And why isolate this boogey-bug du jour, when, last I checked, this country is overrun with invasive species. Indeed, this country was founded by invasive species. The only native Americans are, well, Native Americans and the like, and you don’t see us trying to eradicate other people.
So. Rather than make rash judgments about the next stink bug I see, I think I’m gonna go up to it, smile, try to find common ground and maybe suggest it move to a place it can raise a big stink and get all the warmth it needs: Arizona.
After a few generations, maybe the brown marmorated stink bug will be so addicted to our fruit trees, it’ll catch diabetes and die out.