Pests spreading across U.S.: From politics to stink bugs

It was one of “those” days.

It had started out fine. Better than fine — productive and energizing. I practiced yoga at the YMCA, lifted a little, finished my writing deadlines by 3, promptly replied to eight emails, got a couple loads of laundry done, pruned and weeded an overgrown bee balm and coneflower bed and met a friend for tea.

Unfortunately during tea, the conversation turned to politics. Is everyone else out there totally done listening to the rhetoric? Yep, me too. After I came home, I grabbed the leaf blower to rid one of my perennial gardens from the onslaught of falling leaves. I didn’t even take time to change from my “tea” clothes into my garden clothes because I just wanted to start and finish this one small task.

Maybe I just wanted the noise of the leaf blower to drown out the clamor of the world for a brief moment.

Maybe I felt the need to have a bit of order in at least one garden.

Maybe I needed a short reprieve from the incessant political prattle.

The leaf blowing was actually quite calming. That is, until I heard the motor fan abruptly lose power and sound muffled. By the time I figured out what happened and shut her down, my favorite black, hip-length blouse was forever sucked inside the fan housing. No amount of pulling on the end of my blouse or attempting to maneuver the fan flywheel allowed me to free the already chewed up tail of my formerly favorite “go-to” shirt.

I can’t figure out why I got into such a funk over a minor mishap, except that the political prattle was still following me around like the hundreds of stink bugs that have been hanging around. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a nuisance pest both indoors and out when it is attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days in search of protected, overwintering sites. The adult bug begin to search for overwintering sites starting in September through the first half of October — and I’m sure I had more than 100 on the east side of my house one day last week.

Prior to 1998, there were none on our continent — they were apparently accidentally introduced in Pennsylvania and are spreading across the U.S. and becoming a major agricultural pest.

At this writing there are exactly 25 days, 23 hours, 12 minutes and 17 seconds until the election. Meanwhile, I will be doing my part by voting early, blowing leaves and ridding the world of stink bugs.