The Q&A Archives: Stinkbugs on Tomatoes

Question: Every year I have problems with the stink bug stinging my tomatoes, and then they spoil. Ive tried Ammo, Thiodan, and Sevin but I still hear them buzz off when I walk up to my plants. They leave a pinhole size sting that later makes it rot. Please help.

Answer: After overwintering in woody areas, especially on blackberries near streams, adults stinkbugs fly into gardens in spring when temperatures reach 70 F. They lay cream-colored, barrel-shaped eggs in masses on the undersides of leaves. The nymphs feed on leaves, reaching adulthood in six weeks. The adults feed on young fruits, piercing the skins to draw fluids and causing the yellow blotches and spongy texture. There are multiple generations in a year. Fortunately, the fruits are fine to eat after you cut away the damage. <br><br>Home-garden sprays usually aren't effective because they need to make contact with the stinkbugs to kill them and these insects are very mobile and therefore hard to find. <br><br>Your first step is to control the stinkbug population by searching for and destroying egg masses on the undersides of the leaves in May and June, cleaning up the garden thoroughly in fall and removing any bushy growth, such as wild brambles, around the garden where adult stinkbugs overwinter. You may be able to reduce the pest population significantly by doing this. Inspect plants for the nymph or larval stages of the insect too. Pick these off and destroy, and/or spray frequently with insecticidal soap, making sure to cover the undersides of the leaves. <br><br>As you have seen, it is difficult to control the adults, so it's best to try to catch the pest when they are most vulnerable--as eggs and larvae.<br><br><br>

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