My husband thinks he’s Marlon Perkins. I don’t want to dissuade him, for it gives him such joy and feelings of power that can’t reasonably be replicated in any other aspect of his life. I feel like I’m a bit player on “Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, though we live about 25 miles outside of Washington, DC. I don’t think of myself as Bill necessarily – I always felt bad for that guy – Marlon would narrate as Bill was sent to wrestle the alligator, run from a charging silver back gorilla, etc.. I am more of a hysterical observer as I watch my husband approach his nemesis, his focus nothing short of laser-like, his exhaustive knowledge of his prey’s behavior shames those of us lesser beings who are just simply grossed out.
He is in search of the notorious brown marmorated stink bug. For those of you who live on the East Coast and/or China, these interlopers are not uncommon to you. A few of them apparently booked vacations here, arriving by boat only to find the environment conducive for permanent re-location. The vineyards were plentiful, the fruit crop bountiful, job prospects were strong and the housing market very competitive. What a place to raise a family – very large families.
These are disgusting bugs. I’m sorry if I offend those of you who find all of God’s creatures to be wondrous, but these guys rate right up there with cockroaches in my book. They have these hard brown shells and emit a potent, offensive odor if challenged (or squashed or vacuumed up). They prefer the warmer weather, so after hibernating in the eaves and crevasses of one’s home, they emerge in the spring. Needless to say, they don’t even have the good manners to bring a thank you gift for allowing then to stay rent free on your property for part of the year. At first I thought they were a new form of psychic terrorism – like water torture – they just keep coming back over and over and over…They have no known natural enemies ( but for a specific type of stingless wasp who is still hanging out in China), are virtually impossible to completely eradicate and make their presence known in some very inopportune places (I have had one crawl across the keys of my computer – while keying; take a car trip with me to the supermarket; one even jumped out of my briefcase when I went through security at the airport – until then I had never heard a TSA agent scream). I love the outdoors; I hate sharing my space with these pre-historic looking insects who actually think they are entitled to be here.
Enter my husband, pith helmet jauntily placed on his head, shorts, knee socks and a safari jacket to die for, stalking his prey with his weapon of choice – The Bugzooka. This is a large cylindrical contraption with suction-like properties (sold by Ronco or some such company). If you bring the tip of the Bugzooka within touching distance of the offending bug and press a button, it sucks the insect into a holding cell. There they remain imprisoned, no doubt wondering what happened to the free food and room service, before being unceremoniously flushed down the toilet. Of course, we have a septic system, so you can imagine my anxiety when considering how many of these ugly little buggers are clogging the tanks (my apologies in advance to the people who will come and empty those tanks – it will be a really awful experience which I hope doesn’t leave them permanently damaged).
My husband has quickly become my hero. I just have to whisper “stink bug at 2:00” and he is at the ready, calmly pursuing his prey and dispensing his swift, unequivocal justice. I think he has probably developed a reputation among the stink bug population, for there do seem to be fewer this year. I am a member of the Humane Society of the U.S., the SPCA and really believed I loved all animals great and small. Yet I now must admit that I have been bested by the brown marmorated stink bug, and saved by my very own Marlon Perkins.