The Q&A Archives: Garden Pests

Question: Is there any way to get rid of

Answer: Stink bugs are difficult to eliminate. These large insects drain juices from the plants and cause cloudy spot, a condition characterized by white or yellow areas on the fruits. A white, corky tissue forms beneath the chlorotic blemishes. Stink bugs also cause catfacing, a distortion that happens after the insects insert their strawlike mouth parts into the tomato to drink.

Hand-harvest stink bugs to prevent offspring. Because they're easy to see and often travel alone, this is a relatively effective, albeit yucky, tactic to reduce populations. To discourage them, keep the garden free of weeds, which hide them. Wrap tomato cages with row cover early in the season. The fabric allows air, light and water to penetrate but keeps pests out. Remove when plants are taller than the cages.

Harvest tomatoes when they show color. Ripen indoors in bright light; avoid direct sunlight. They will taste as good as those ripened on the vine.

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