Stink bugs: YUCK

Asked November 1, 2016, 12:36 PM EDT

Our small pear orchard has been attacked the last 2 summers with stink bugs. Is there anything that can be done? Now they are finding their way into the house! Also, when is too late to plant spring tulip bulbs & still get bloom?

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Thanks for your question about stink bugs and bulbs.

There are 2 kinds of stink bugs at work in Oregon. One type of stink bug has been here for a long time, is a nuisance, and frequently overwinters indoors. The only way to control them is to make sure there are no entrance points in your house, and monitor them coming in when you open doors.

The second type of stink bug is an invasive stink bug, the brown marmorated stink bug, from Asia. Right now, there are no effective control methods, but an increase in the population of a minute wasp may provide a long term solution. Here's a link which has photos of the BMSB (just so you can identify whether that's what's invaded your pears.)

As for bulbs, yes, you can still plant spring tulip bulbs so long as the ground is workable. You might want to add some bulb meal to provide nutrients close to the roots, which will develop over the winter. Here are some tips (and we're not far from October!):

1. Plant in October after first frost but before frost has penetrated the soil.

2. Get varieties with “perennial traits” for blooms over several seasons from one bulb.

3. Buy organic. The flowers are brighter, stronger, and more fragrant.

4. Plant in layers. For a long season, bury late bloomers deepest, then mid-bloomers, and earliest on top, with soil in between.

5. Get deeper. Dig 6 to 8 inches down so bulbs don’t become squirrel food.

6. Mulch lightly. Heavy mulch stops soil from freezing and throws off bulbs’ timing. 7. Foil voles and squirrels. Form a bowl of chicken wire under bulbs and lay wire over them, just under the soil’s surface.

8. Stop watering when leaves begin to die. But don’t cut leaves until brown. Bulbs are nourished by aging foliage.

Hope this is helpful!