Severe cold impacted stink bugs, wildlife

I have been tracking the abundance of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs since they arrived in my area in the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century. I have also tracked the abundance of the Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle and many other organisms over the course of decades.

I don’t believe Professor Pfeiffer is correct in his assessment of this situation (“Where have all the stink bugs gone?” Nov. 22).

The fact is that the severely cold winter of 2013-2014 took a huge toll on many kinds of wildlife. Many deer starved that winter; birds such as Carolina Wrens and Eastern Bluebirds died from the cold and lack of food; and many, many kinds of insects — not only stink bugs and lady beetles — died as well, probably from dehydration (an insect’s biggest “fear”).

The insect species affected that year have not recovered, but rather have continued to decline, undoubtedly due to drought-plagued winters. In fact, insect populations of many species were so low this past summer that many birds did not nest successfully or nest as many times as they usually do.

I might also point out that the highest abundance of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs was in 2013. In Shenandoah National Park, where I was giving talks, so many were flying that you couldn’t even exit your vehicle! And at hawk watches around the state, folks complained about the abundance of these insects in their reports.

Marlene A. Condon
Crozet

Editor’s note: The writer is author/photographer of “The Nature-friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People.” In her book, she proposes a radically different method of gardening: What if, instead of battling the natural world, we invite it into our yards?

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