I’ve wondered about that recently. It all started when I was “soaping” brown marmorated stink bugs in a tall plastic jar containing a couple of inches of water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid, a.k.a. soap. As the stink bugs dropped or flew into the suds, a fragrance wafted up.
I the eternal optimist joyfully assumed the fragrance was that of the soap, which is described on the label of the container as “citrus burst,” not, I hasten to point out, “burst citrus,” which might indicate a less than wholesome smell.
And today I was merrily “soaping” stink bugs again—say 20 on the inside of our front storm door and 125 on the outside. From time to time a target would miss the mouth of the jar and fall or fly to the concrete porch and decide to scamper to safety. I had other ideas and decided to “take out” a few speedy NASCAR types with the sole of my garden shoes.
That’s when I suddenly realized that the odor of “stink bugs”—often described as like that of “dirty socks”—was, well, the fragrance I had been smelling while “soaping” the critters. To confirm my finding, I knelt and sniffed, my nose within a millimeter of a squished corpse.
Yes, the odor really was the fragrance I had experienced. “Stink bugs” really are “citrus burst bugs,” at least according to my smeller.
Bob has finally flipped, you may be thinking. Have I? There’s only one way to tell for sure—do a smell test on a brown marmorated stink bug.
I hasten to assist this citizen-scientist experiment by suggesting a procedure: Rip one square from the nearest roll of toilet paper and take the square and a sandwich-size baggie on a hunt for a brown marmorated stink bug. When you find a bug, gently catch it with the square of paper. Quickly and carefully fold the paper around the bug and insert the gift package into the baggie. From the outside of the baggie, squish the stink bug with your fingers until you feel a terminal crunch or see a terminal ooze.
Yuck! Eewwww! Disgusting! Yes, I know, but, really, get hold of yourself and do it. This is science at its most basic. Besides, the paper and the baggie will protect you from the mess inside.
Once you know the bug is Code Blue and no nurses or physicians are running to assist, carefully open the baggie and take a whiff—or two.
Ok, what do you think?
Is what you smell closer to the odor of “dirty socks”? Or closer to the fragrance of “citrus burst”?
Or do you have another descriptive word or phrase—one that you feel comfortable posting on the Grow It Eat It blog?
Squish away. Sniff away. And do post your Comment, please.
Maybe our research findings will be the basis of a whole new movement: Friends of the Brown Marmorated Citrus Burst Bug—or perhaps an even more “fragrant” name that you suggest.