Stink Bugs and Red Spider Lilies
Stink bugs and red spider lilies are the hot topics this week at the Caldwell Extension Center. We have received many calls about both.
I’ll start with stink bugs. The official name of these creatures is the brown marmorated stink bug.
They are native to Asia and have only been in Caldwell County for about three years.
During the growing season, stink bugs feed on a wide range of plants including fruit trees, ornamentals and field crops. This time of year the days grow shorter. This signals the adults that winter is coming and it’s time to find a home for the winter. This causes large numbers of stink bugs to mass on the outside of homes and buildings. Inevitably some of the bugs will make it indoors. The brown marmorated stink bug, as well as the Asian lady beetle and the kudzu bug, all overwinter as adults and can be a major house pest.
Insecticidal sprays can be used, but are not very effective. Target the insecticidal treatments to critical areas around windows, doors and other entry points. The insecticides are really only effective for a few days. Also, be aware that the EPA has revised the label of pyrethroid containing products. These products cannot be applied to vertical impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, etc. This is because there is a high likelihood of run-off with rain water into storm drains. Always read and follow the directions on any pesticide.
I think we are in for several more weeks of stink bugs as the days get shorter and temperatures drop. The best front-line control is to seal up cracks and crevices on the outside of your house. This will help keep the bugs from getting inside and reduce your winter heating bill. When they do get in, physical removal is still the best approach. For more information on stink bugs, visit our factsheet at https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/brown-marmorated-stink-bug-in-north-carolina-3/
Besides stink bugs, we have received samples of red spider lily flowers in the Caldwell Extension Center. Red spider lilies are a type of naked or surprise lily. They are called surprise lilies because the flowers just appear on a stalk without any leaves. All surprise lilies are native to Asia and belong to the amaryllis family.
Red spider lilies seem to be more plentiful this year. I think they are plentiful because of the consistent rains this season. The red spider lily has been cultivated since ancient times in China and Japan. The plant was first brought to the United States in the early 1800’s. It is now considered naturalized to the US and an “heirloom plant” in the South. It can be found wild around old homesteads and farm houses.