Hard-to-kill pests poised to invade SC homes

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The swarm is coming and it stinks.

A plague of tiny bugs is infesting homes in the mid-Atlantic states, coming in through windowsills and cracks in the door, trying to get out of the cold. It doesn't do much good to swat them. When a stink bug gets smushed, it leaves an ammonia-like smell. If a swarm gets exterminated, there's another swarm right behind it. And the pesticides that kill brown marmorated stink bugs are too strong to use indoors.

Whew, good thing that critter is in the mid-Atlantic, right? Uh, no.

"That species has been spotted in North Carolina. They could get here. They may well be here. Their range in Asia encompasses South Carolina's climate," said Paul Mitchell, Winthrop University biology professor, who has studied the pest.

And that's not the worst of it. "I'd be far more worried about the kudzu bug," she said. That stinker has already moved from Georgia into 16 counties Upstate.

The only bright spot in the invasion is that if there is a swarm of bugs coming through the cracks of your Lowcountry home right now, the critters are most likely Asian lady bugs. And they don't stink. When swatted, they leave a yellow smear on the wall.

The stink bug, the lady bug and the bean plataspid, or kudzu bug, are all invasive species, Asian insects that have joined what's becoming an ecosystem full of crawling, swimming, flying or tendrilling take-over artists.

The Lowcountry already has plenty of native stink bugs. But as a rule, they don't come indoors. The brown marmorated stink bug first showed up in Pennsylvania in 1998, literally made itself at home in the Northeast and started moving south. The bugs spread quickly. The kudzu bug didn't even show up in Georgia until 2009.

Entomologists worry about them chiefly as agricultural pests. The aptly named kudzu bug has its good side: It devours the foot-a-night plant whose strangling vines are a scourge of the South.

But it and the brown marmorated stink bug like soybeans, too, and have chewed up other crops as well. Both the lady bug and kudzu bug are cliff-dwellers in their native lands and have shown a scary fondness for swarming the walls of homes like ivy.

If they do show up, the only tried-and-true remedy is your vacuum cleaner. Laurie Reid, S.C. Forestry Commission entomologist, recommends sealing the filled-up vacuum bag and sticking it in the freezer to make sure the insects are dead before disposing of the bag.

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CricketSeranade
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CricketSeranade 10/10/10 - 03:14 pm
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Ladybugs do stink. Maybe

Ladybugs do stink. Maybe everyone can't smell it, but the people who can know just how bad they do smell. And really, who is going to put a vacuum cleaner bag full of stink bugs in their freezer. Remind me to never accept an invitation to her house for dinner.

RAINBOW
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RAINBOW 10/10/10 - 04:45 pm
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LOL cricket

LOL cricket

Painter
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Painter 10/10/10 - 05:25 pm
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Cricket, anything you seal up

Cricket, anything you seal up can't get out to contaminate the freezer. Freezing is exterminating.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 10/10/10 - 06:45 pm
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What do you do if you have a

What do you do if you have a bagless vacuum cleaner?

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 10/10/10 - 09:26 pm
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ICL, I guess get another

ICL, I guess get another one!

55 F-100
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55 F-100 10/11/10 - 07:26 am
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The headline lead me to

The headline lead me to believe that the story was going to be about obamazombies.

cricketflea
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cricketflea 10/11/10 - 07:46 am
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Freezing ladybugs does not

Freezing ladybugs does not always work! Several years ago my son would catch them and put them into a jar, freeze them and later take them out to feed to chickens. If he sat the jar on the back porch in the sunlight for a little while before taking to the chickens, they would "come back alive", lol....It was just a child's thing he did, but we all learned from it.

Rolling Eyes
245
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Rolling Eyes 10/11/10 - 01:48 pm
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Good grief! I foresee

Good grief! I foresee problems in the future..... My cats love to chase bugs!

InChristLove
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InChristLove 10/11/10 - 03:15 pm
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Rolling Eyes, your cat will

Rolling Eyes, your cat will break the habit real fast if he/she catches one of these stinkers. :)

Rolling Eyes
245
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Rolling Eyes 10/11/10 - 07:14 pm
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ICL, I pray that they break

ICL, I pray that they break this habit on my kitchen floor and not in the middle of my bed! :)

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