We have been helplessly watching a very industrious squirrel raiding our walnut tree but his greediness got the best of him. I noticed some unusual green at the base of our very old, damaged apple tree. On closer examination I found walnuts buried in the surrounding fir cone midden and more walnuts in the hollowed out tree. I gather about 15 pounds worth of nuts, leaving some for the squirrel.
I had noticed these bugs on my red currants for a number of years but didn’t give them much thought. A couple of days ago I decided to look them up and see what their story was. I already knew they were stink bugs and I thought that was their claim to fame. Unfortunately, I found out they also like to chew on tender shoots. I had noticed quite a bit of fruit drop on my red currants and had always suspected it may have been bird damage. I’m now convinced it was caused by the Green Burgundy Stink Bug (Banasa dimidiata).
We don’t use pesticides in our garden so I resorted to the old tried and true method of hand picking the bugs off. The first day I got about 50 bugs, the second day 20 and today about 10. I’ll continue picking each day until I see the last of them. I also use this method for slugs and sawfly larva and while a little tedious, it is effective. When picking I’m always coming across beneficial insects that would be killed by spraying so the time taken far outweighs the convenience of a quick, easy and deadly spray.
We were hoping to leave our apples on the trees for a couple more weeks but this young guy came by to check out the crop.
Unfortunately he has very little fear of humans and I think that will be a problem in coming years. After unsuccessfully trying to climb one apple tree that I had temporarily ringed with sheet metal, he tried to push over the fence into the garden to get the apples from our dwarf trees. It was then that I had to intervene. I went out to scare him away but that didn’t phase him much, he made a half-hearted climb up a fir tree and then headed for another old apple tree and sat down for a scratch.
After checking out the apples above, up he went.
It looked like he had settled in so I had to get out the garden hose and give him a spray. He quite like it at first but then became annoyed and ran off into the woods. Needless to say, we picked our apples – 60 pounds that didn’t end up in a bear’s stomach.