Could this truly be "The Year of the Stinkbug"?
Someone at last meeting made the declaration and described them as a black and red, shield-shaped beetle. Yep, they do seem to be everywhere!
Here are some on my Cranesbill geranium (making more beetles...).
Question: Are they a problem and why are there so many?
A quick search for stinkbug comes up with a number of brown beetles. But, Iowa State University's Bugguide.net helped me identify it: Cosmopepla lintneriana is also known as the "Wee Harlequin Bug" or "Twice-Stabbed Stink bug".
Local gardener bloggers have written about them and given some good advice:
1. Once-Edmonton-resident, The Home Bug Gardener, has beautiful high resolution photos including newly hatched beetles and nymphs. He also states "it is a host generalist, but feeds almost entirely on seeds. So, finding them
on your peas is not good, but on your garden flowers, not so bad."
2. Shirley's recent post suggests our relatively mild winter may be one reason why there are so many.
3. Rob Sproule's "Stink Bus" article is short and to the point on how to limit damage and control.
Both Shirley and Rob Sproule mention they can likely be controlled with non-pesticide means. They also apparently bite! And, of course, stink.
Conclusion: As they only seem to be bugging my perennial flowers, I'm going to let them be.
Are they a problem for you?