A Stinky Situation

We have been adding and removing plants from our garden every week.  The sunflowers grow tall and then need to be pulled and thrown into the compost pile… along with the old flowers and herbs.  Florida summers are hard on some plants and new plantings usually take the place of the old ones.  This summer we’ve mostly planted black-eyed peas, okra and callaloo.  They grow well in our hot Florida summers and we enjoy them on our dinner plates. 

A row of black-eyed peas. I've planted them all over the garden. They fix the nitrogen in the soil and are a great plant for Florida's extreme summer.

Black-eyed peas.

Giant sunflowers.

We painted the chicken tractor the same color as our house. The kids had a blast painting it...for about 30 minutes. A little help is better than none at all.

The stinky situation is not our compost pile though.  It’s the brown marmonated stink bugs that have shown up.  I kept noticing them on our young watermelon, squash and cucumber plants.  I sprayed them with a poison which made Grayson frown at me.  I used the insecticide against my better judgement, but I wanted to see these bugs disappear off my young plants.  The bugs just laughed at me and increased their numbers.

We decided we needed to figure out a better way to rid our garden of these pests.  Grayson put a specimen in a jar for us to study.  Our conclusion is that it is indeed the brown marmonated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) that has come over to the U.S. from Asia.  It is an invasive pest that was discovered to have made its way into the U.S. in 2001 and is spreading throughout the states.  It sucks the life out of many trees, fruits, and vegetables and is extremely difficult to eradicate. 
We are taking our specimen to our local Florida County Cooperative Extension Service Office  for a positive identification.  I am really hoping that I have it confused with another bug.   I’ll update you on the results.
 
Grayson and I recently bought twelve little chicks from a friend.  Nine of the birds are Cuckoo Maran chickens that lay dark chocolate eggs.  Three of the chicks are guinea fowl (babies are called “keets”).  We added the three little guinea fowl to the mix but did not tell my husband.  Nine of the chicks are black and white and three of the chicks (guineas) look remarkably different with stripes all over them.

Baby Cuckoo Maran chicken and guinea fowl.

My husband kept commenting that he couldn’t believe how different in color three of the chicks were.  Grayson and I couldn’t keep the secret and eventually told him that we secretly slid 3 guinea fowl in the box.  He said we were crafty and that they would never work out because they’re loud, boisterous and like to fly.  I said they will work out because they’re vocal, entertaining and I want them.  So there. 
 

Guinea Fowl. I think they're adorable...and they have yummy eggs with a very hard shell.

A great website with information about guineas is poultryhelp.com.   Did you know that guineas can completely rid a yard of ticks? That means there is a much lower risk of getting lyme disease.  They also eat fleas, lice, cutworms, spiders, roaches, termites, grubs, snails, mosquitos and… stink bugs!  They eats thousands of insects in a day.  They might just be our solution.  They also enjoy eating bees, but I’ll figure that one out later.  For now, I am most inclined to get rid of all the bad bugs.
 
Come grow with us!   

3 Responses to “A Stinky Situation”

  1. What was the verdict and the solution to your stinkbug problem? Did the guinea fowl eat the stinkbugs? I am about to get some guinea keets myself–namely to reduce the stinkbug population around my house, but I have found no evidence that these terrific birds actually EAT stinkbugs. I’m just hoping….

    • I’m sorry but I don’t have the evidence you’re looking for. We had to re-home our guinea fowl. We decided it wasn’t worth upsetting our neighbors. I was bummed because I knew they would be insect eating machines. Another small problem for us is that guineas also eat honey bees. It would be sad for us to watch the birds picking off our hard-working girls.

      The stink bugs are seasonal here and are a real problem. Please let me know how your guineas work out for you. They’re incredible birds.

  2. Do they take care of earwigs? We live in town with about a 1/4 acre. We can have 3 “pet” birds of sorts but didnt realize the gunea types were loud…. please advise. We never had problems with earwigs until about 3-4 years ago and short of putting pesticide on EVERYTHING they are running rampant!

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