Stink Beetle

Another harbinger of Spring: stink beetles in the house.

I'm learning there are various insect seasons here. Spring and Fall bring stink beetles. Shortly after the beetles arrive in the Spring, ants arrive. I can hardly wait.

The beetles move slowly. They don't have to run, because their natural defense - emitting a malodorous secretion from the rear ends (honestly, the worst and longest lasting fart you can imagine) - is enough to make anyone avoid them. Even the girls have learned to leave them alone.

If I can sneak up on the beetle and crush it quickly, before it can prepare, I can avoid the smell. I've learned this the hard way. I can tell when I'm not going to be successful, not quick enough: the beetle raises it's butt high into the air. Game over. I've lost.

Once I thought I'd be clever and vacuum one up. Bad move. It survived the ride throught the vacuum hose and bag and, to get even, kept farting away inside the bag. It took me a day to figure this out. I had to remove the vacuum bag to finally get rid of the stench.

No air deodorizer is equal to these bugs. Patience alone is the only recourse - waiting for the air to clear, usually a day.

The only way I can describe the stench is: very metallic, copperish, or similar to the smell of the iron you can sometimes smell in blood.

When I first put two and two together - crushed bug, bad smell a few seconds later - I Googled "stink bug" and found there is an infinite variety under that general category. But the various photos showed green, or brown bugs of a slightly different shape than I was observing. This morning I Googled "beetle + stink" and ta da! there it was: pinacate beetles. Or something very similar.

The reason for that Google search, and this post: I stepped on one last night as I went to let the girls inside, around 3 am. I could tell from the sound of the crunch that I'd likely stepped on one. Yuck! And I was barefoot! I turned on the light, and yup, there he was, angry, butt high, farting away. The room quickly filled with that awful odor. I grabbed a tissue, crushed and flushed him. But he'd already gotten even.

It's at least six hours later, as I write this, and I can still smell that fart.