Just when we thought that the end of the world was coming thanks to staph infections and bedbugs, now it turns out that stink bugs are in the running for "Pest of the Apocalypse." Well, at least if you happen to be an apple.
While the bugs don't bite or carry diseases, they do emit a foul odor if squashed. There may even be a connection between this feature and their name, but I'm still working this out.
The bugs do like to nosh on peaches, apples, soybeans, corn, and ornamental shrubs and trees. Farmers are not amused.
According to the Washington Post, stink bugs appear to be one of the four insects of the Apocalypse, or a Cuban revolutionary conspiracy, or something:
"This is the vanguard," said Mike Raupp, a University of Maryland entomologist and extension specialist. "I think this is going to be biblical this year," he said. "You're going to hear a collective wail in the Washington area, up through Frederick and Allegany counties, like you've never heard before. The [bug] populations are just through the ceiling."
As with bedbugs, the Post reports (without any actual sources) that distraught homeowners are resorting to "burning them with propane torches."
The bugs seem to have arrived as illegal immigrants from Asia over a decade ago, and have since spread to 29 states.
Authorities recommend that homeowners stop bathing so that they won't notice the smell from the bugs if they accidentally step on any as they flee from their burning homes.
Some media reports have noted that the bugs are a delicacy when eaten in tacos in parts of Mexico. Stink Bug Tacos -- I think I have the name of my next band.