Ooh, ooh that smell

Those little stinkers, they sneak around, multiply, and although we try to eradicate them by stomping them, it’s to no avail. The stink after you squash them remains for more time than you are prepared to handle. These stinkers proliferate during the winter in January and February and awake to begin their real havoc on July 1.

Just as our gardens begin to really do their thing, tomatoes, squash and beans bursting out all over; the stink bug is in full adulthood, munching away and destroying our hard work.  

This year they invaded my house as well. I saw reports about them on TV and newspapers and I saw them holed up on websites too. Apparently I have some crevasses that they have sneaked in through while in pursuit of warmth and sympathy.

They seek shelter in cozy, indoor crannies; attics are among their favorite places to set up housekeeping; thousands-thick in their wintering settlements.  A late batch of stink bug nymphs was born last year, but the majority probably perished before maturing, according to Tracy Leskey, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Positively huge numbers will weather the winter and start multiplying as soon as spring arrives, according to Leskey.

“In the United States, brown marmorated stink bugs are most prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic states. A recent national survey conducted by Hometeam Pest Defense found that 59 percent of Washington, D.C., homeowners has had problems with the bugs, making the nation’s capital their densest urban stronghold. But the invasive species has now spread to 38 states, including California and Oregon,” Lesky says.

“About anything that makes a seed or a fruit they’ll eat,” said Ames Herbert, an entomologist at Virginia Tech University who researches ways to protect Virginia’s soy bean crop from the brown marmorated stink bug.

Herbert said crop infestations… roughly doubled in range since last year, with colonies registered in about 40 of the state’s 95 counties.

The stink bug sneaked into the country from, you guessed it, Asia. All those crates of stuff we import make nice traveling accommodations for the little buggers. So far, on this side of the pond, trapping them in little boxes that look like the home they rode here in is the only eradication solution.

But do not worry, help is on the way. Agricultural scientists are testing a known predator – the Asian wasp. So just like the stink coming out of General Assembly (GA) this year, maybe next year’s solution will give us some sane legislation. Your choice, stink or sting.

Inching along our homegrown, organic and summer deliciousness is another predator. Its modus operandi (method of action) is blending in with our plants as it kills. No, it’s not the chameleon-like monster of the 1987 science fiction film starring Awnold Schwawzeneggah; it’s the little humping-back inch worm. Cutting into leaves like the GA is cutting into Virginia citizens,

In an Associated Press article, Fairfax County officials say they’ll fight an inchworm epidemic from above. The county will fight by way of a helicopter spraying pesticides on the worms. It’s the first time in 10 years in which a helicopter has been used to exterminate a pest.

Just as sensible citizens of Virginia consider moving from Virginia if bills like creating our own currency, which passed the house last week but died in Senate committee, continue to propagate, some have said GA members introducing such unconstitutionality should be relocated.

In the warmth of the summer, for which we all long, Hawaiian shirts, cut-offs and flip-flops are common dress. But speaking of flip-flops, according to the Washington Examiner, the Virginia Senate voted 26-14 to pass a version of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill that would raise the state’s gas tax by at least five cents per gallon.

His previous bill eliminated the gas tax in favor of sales taxes – flip-flop, flip-flop. But on a good note, localities that need revenue, like Chesterfield, the bill would allow jurisdictions to add another 1 percent-per-gallon.

Capitol News Service quoted Del. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights as saying transportation needs “a key source of revenue”—the general fund. There has been much discussion during this General Assembly about dipping into the General Fund for transportation needs, and whether this takes away from school, healthcare, and other needs of the Virginia populous.

“If we are serious about getting transportation done, we are going to have to have a general fund component,” Cox said.

Then there’s voter ID legislation (suppresses the vote); gerrymandering Henry Marsh’s district; more bureaucracy placed on local beautification projects, among others.

There is some good legislation being proposed and passed, but what fun is it for an old curmudgeon like me to talk about that. The GA is always fodder for complaining or should I say critical observation.  

Like a bug on a windshield, a fly stuck to flypaper, or a stink bug trapped in a crate. Let’s hope that silly legislature doesn’t pass; having us saying pheeuw.


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