"Do you like my hat ?" Image credit:Flickr,graftedno1
The web of life is such a wonder. Following the first US landing, in Allentown PA, of a successful breeding population of Chinese Stink Bugs, US Mid-Atlantic states were swarming with the damn things (see photo below). The Chinese Stinkers don't bite but they are large and medieval looking; and, when harassed or squashed they exude a horrid smell.
Homes of rich and poor alike were infested day and night, upstairs and down, for three years running. Then this summer, suddenly, they nearly disappeared from the western suburbs of Philadelphia. I think I know at least one reason why there were fewer Chinese Stink Bugs this year: wolf spiders, like the one pictured above, ate them.Here's a photo of what the stinkers looked like in late summer of 2009. This was a pretty typical sight in late fall that year and next. When the weather grew cool, the buggers came inside and followed us into the shower and bed.
Chinese stink bugs sucking juices from a large Hubbard squash. Photo by John Laumer.
We had an extraordinary number of rain days this year, capped by two weeks of steady precipitation caused by Hurricane Irene. Because of the constant moisture, flying insects also were present in very high densities, which led to lots of big spiders. By the end of August, every downstairs window of my house was webbed, with a big juicy spider framed in the center of each.
Going back to early summer, my yard and garden and every other one around were crawling with wolf spiders - some I am sure were the huge Carolina wolf, Hogna carolinensis. . In the past I'd see maybe one or two of these monsters each year. This year I saw dozens every day, some visibly pouncing on the stinkers as evening came on.
Go get 'em boys.