Stinkbugs - I need ideas to keep them off my Tomatoes

frustratedearthmother

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Year after year I grow the most beautiful, productive tomatoes. Many varieties from full sized down to the cutest little cherry and/or grape tomatoes. Unfortunately, year after year we are inundated by stink bugs that destroy the fruits. A greenhouse is always the first idea to come to mind but I don't actually need a greenhouse because we're so HOT here. A screen house would probably work much better. I may eventually resort to one, but before I go that route I'd love ideas for ways to actually get an edible harvest without spending a whole lot of money.

I have tons of huge grow tubs. I thought about planting my tomatoes in there and using maybe some welded wire to wrap around the plants and cover it all with row cover. It's not a bad idea, but it's hard to keep the row cover secure and those stinkin' stink bugs can find any weakness and breach it. I've thought about using a stock panel and arching some pvc over it and covering that with row cover or maybe I could find some actual insect cloth to use. That way I could walk in there and harvest easier.

I'm open to ideas and suggestions. I want some tomatoes!!
 
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frustratedearthmother

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I wish there was a predator insect that lived on stink bugs. While there are 'some' that prey on them, the info I've seen seems to indicate it's not totally effective. :(

  • Do brown marmorated stink bugs have any natural enemies (predators and parasitoids) in the United States?
    Yes. Since the brown marmorated stink bug is not native to the United States it is unlikely that its natural enemies came with it when it was introduced into the country. However, there are various native natural enemies that do feed on brown marmorated stink bugs including predatory stink bugs, assassin bugs, and two egg parasitoids. Unfortunately they attack many species of insects. Because of this they are unable to control the brown marmorated stink bug at this time.
I've read about kaolin also. Might have to give that a try - thanks for the reminder!
 

frustratedearthmother

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I'd love it if your information was more accurate! Do you remember the name of the predator bugs because I'd probably try it. DH reminded me that I actually bought some Kaolin some time ago and never used it. :hide If I can find it I'll experiment with it this year.
 

Hinotori

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Try neem oil. It's safe for edible plants. It's pressed from the seeds of the neem tree.

I got Mom to try it on her apricot tree a few years ago because she was freaking out about the toxic sprays the nursery recommended for the tree scale. Took care of the problem and now Mom is happy enough to have something she can use.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Thanks @Hinotori! I'll give that a try too. Might set up some experimental tomato beds and try different strategies until I find the one that works the best. :)
 

Mini Horses

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So reading I see they don't like strong smells -- like, really???? This comes from things to keep them from entering houses. Wipe screens with strong smelling dryer sheets, put clove or lavender oils on sills at door and windows, etc. I sprayed BT on mine on squash plants. It did kill them...or at least gone. A female can lay 50-100 eggs at a time, usually on underside of leaf, white.

By the way, skunks don't like lavender. And I know moth balls, either. But gotta be careful with those so nothing else eats them.....
 

flowerbug

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how about putting some bird baths around to attract birdies which may eat some of them?

we do get some stink bugs here (we call them squash bugs) but not too many. we do have bird baths.

also diatomaceous earth might help discourage them. it can be hard to get on the plants though. i don't use it here.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I have a lot of water sources scattered around - but not bird baths specifically. There are water buckets in all pens and several large troughs. I have bird savers in all troughs so that the birds can access the water without drowning. I also put out chicken feed twice a day. Our local birds know the feeding schedule as well as the chickens do and will barely wait until my back is turned to swoop in and steel a seed or two. Maybe they don't enjoy a stinkbug snack, lol. I wonder if guinea fowl would eat them...or even chickens? But, I can't let chickens into the garden because they're scratching destroys fragile plants. Maybe I could get some bantams to keep in the garden. Smaller chickens, smaller damage?
 
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