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Squash or eat?

Published February 04. 2012 09:01AM

We've all seen the "brown marmorated stink bug" in our homes and gardens in the last few years.

According to the Penn State website, this insect was not previously seen on our continent. It was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania.

The stink bug was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier. It is probable that they are in all counties and has found its way throughout most of the United States.

This true bug in the insect family Pentatomidae is known as an agricultural pest in its native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The stink bug has become a serious pest of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region and it is probable that it will become a pest of these commodities in other areas in the United States.

It's becomes a nuisance pest both indoors and out when it is attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days in search of protected, overwintering sites. It occasionally reappears during warmer sunny periods throughout the winter, and again as it emerges in the spring.

If you haven't been sure you ever saw one, this is what they look like. Adults are nearly an inch long and are shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces. They are the typical "shield" shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. The name "stink bug" refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.

Now that we know where they came from and what they look like, I took a poll of the news room to see how people dispose of the bugs in their homes when they find them.

The consensus from the ladies is to wrap them in toilet paper and flush them in the toilet. One woman said she uses two pieces of toilet paper because she heard they stink and she likes to squash them until they crack before flushing. Another lady said she has never seen more than one or two in her home, so she doesn't remember what she did to get rid of them.

Both editors say they pick them up and put them outside. One editor said that "if you touch them the smell stays on your hands.

The sports department either puts them in a paper towel and puts them in the trash or flushes them down the toilet.

I'm like the other ladies, I wrap them in toilet paper and flush them, but not until I squish them because I don't want them coming back.

Now you have to hear what they do with them in Mexico? According to About. com. on the Monday following Day of the Dead, the people in Taxco gather together and hunt for jumiles, (larger size) and chumiles (smaller size), which are plentiful. The children race around to see who can stuff their bag first, and the adults look for some too, but mainly they hang out and enjoy the fresh air and pop the occasional live jumiles into their mouths.

Yes, they eat them!

If you are wondering what they taste like, they said the larger jumiles have a strong iodine flavor and are almost overpowering. It's an acquired taste, but once you get used to it you can begin enjoying the other subtle flavors. The chumiles have an even stronger flavor, but they have some sweetness to them also. They are either eaten live or ground into salsa with a molcajete.

I think I would rather squash mine ...

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