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Stink bugs have invaded our house this winter - where do they come from?
by Dan Brawner Columnist · February 8th, 2018

I was sitting at my desk the other day, reading the news about how the world is basically coming to an end and how nobody much cares one way or the other, when I felt something scratchy on my ankle. It was really nothing more than an itch. So, without losing my place in a news item about a meteor the size of Manhattan whizzing toward the Earth that Apple is thinking about naming after their newest cell phone, I reached down to scratch. But instead of an invisible itch, I felt something sharp-edged and wiggly. I jerked my hand back and heard a sound like raising a bamboo window blind, followed by a rancid stench as the thing flew off into a dark corner.

One good thing about January - and there aren't many - is that the month is reliably insect-free. There are no flies, no mosquitoes, no boxelder bugs, no ants. The cold kills bugs, or they go into hibernation or something. Who knows? But they leave us alone. So how is it that there are stink bugs in our house in January?

I feel like I should be ashamed to admit we have stink bugs - like we forgot to empty the litter box for a week, resulting in the spontaneous generation of smelly, scratchy vermin. And now we got what we deserve. Maybe having stink bugs would seem better if they had a nicer name. Aroma insects? Odor bugs?

The rapper Jay Z has a theory about bugs. When President Trump recently took credit for the low African-American unemployment rate, Jay Z, who is worth over $800 million, chided, "Money doesn't equate to happiness. It doesn't. That's missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings then - that's the main point." He went on to explain that when you spray perfume into a smelly trash can (people do that?), it only creates "superbugs." The rapper concluded, "And now we have Donald Trump, the superbug."

So, I guess it's my fault we have stink bugs because I scrub our floors with Pine-Sol. Yeah, right. I have my own theory about bugs. They just happen for no reason. There are a lot of living things in the world and some of them are going to come into your house. Just be grateful when they are not big things.

We have been finding stink bugs in the attic, in the bedrooms, in the living room. For some reason, they never go into the cold, dark basement with the litter box. (They're ugly and smelly, but they're not stupid.) Some "experts" advise you to vacuum up the harmless creatures. Do not do this. Being slurped up into a vacuum cleaner alarms stink bugs and causes them to - well - stink, transforming your vacuum into a giant, stink-bug-scented air freshener, making your entire house smell like the bottom of a Joe's Crab Shack dumpster. And if this happens, for heaven's sake, don't spray any perfume.
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