I hearby nominate David Williams for the Pulitzer Prize for Letters to the Editor, if there were such a thing. He wrote this letter to our small town newspaper on a problem that plagues our state:
Folks, we are doomed. Crooked Run Farm, along with every farmer in Loudoun, now has a bigger enemy even than the developers of Purcellville. I went last Thursday to the 4-H Fairgrounds for a presentation, sponsored by Southern States, on the stink bug invasion. Starker Wright, the govt’s leading expert on agricultural pests for the East coast, came down from his West Virginia research station to give the bad news.
Starting in Pennsylvania, these Asian invaders have moved massively into Maryland, Delaware, W Virginia, and Virginia, but are spreading everywhere already, rapidly by the billions. They have learned to eat every fruit and crop imaginable, destroying them. They are hard to repel, have no natural predators in the US, and when killed by pesticides, they come back to life in a few days. Yes! They go into a kind of coma, rid themselves of the poison, and after a few days depending on the pesticide they are flying around and eating again. But this time, they are stronger from having survived the poison.
According to the USDA’s study, April 10-15 is the major time when they wake up and move out of houses back to the woods and fields. September 24 is the peak of when they return to our houses. Vinyl siding is their best habitat for wintering. Since they can go through 3 generations in a year in this climate, and have no predators or anything eating their egg masses, millions soon become billions. Several million little wasps were imported from Asia to help kill the eggs of the stink bug, but these are held up in a Delaware port while the experts try to decide if letting these pests in to control the bugs might not be a cure even worse than the problem.Oh yeah, the USDA request for $30 million to help study these
monsters and find a way to stop them is not being met well by the deficit dummies in DC. If there ever were a time when the public good over rides individualism, this is it. This is a war to the death, and so far most people don’t realize the catastrophe that’s looming. If we have to borrow from the future to save the present, so be it. This is the way Americans have met adversity since Ben Franklin went to Paris to borrow money from the French so we could go into debt to win our independence in 1776.
And, despite folklore, killing them does not attract other stink bugs. It only seems that way because the first few you see and kill are followed by thousands which would have come along any way. The USDA is trying to find ways to attract and kill them, but they seem, so far, to be attracted to everything. So get your baddest boots on and start stomping. That may be the only barrier between us and Armageddon.
Purcellville Gazette. April 8, 2011