Been There, Done That: The little stinkbug that could

So I was in the upstairs bathroom, which is kind of under construction at the moment. There is a slight leak in the roof that the roofer has heretofore been unable to fix because of the weather. Nobody told Mother Nature it’s spring and we need to be sunny and 75 right now.

In the meantime, we can’t finish the bathroom “remodeling” that was necessary after the water lines froze and burst in December.

The floor and the drywall were torn out to get to the water lines, and we decided to take back the foot or so of space that was lost just to cover the pipe that goes up to the roof. That meant the toilet had to be repositioned so it was no longer located in the middle of the floor.

So when I heard a buzzing by the still functional light panel with three bulbs, I was concerned. Is there an issue with the light fixture? Is it the wiring? It could be a bug, but isn’t it a bit early (and cold) for bugs?
For the most part, we’re not dealing with bees or moths this time of year. I studied the light, all three bulbs, about made myself blind, till I spied that stinkbug.

I had literally never heard of stinkbugs until Dave’s Uncle Rocky visited us a hundred years ago and spotted one in the garage. He pointed it out and warned us not to kill it or it would live up to its name.
I was sure Rocky had brought the creature with him from West Virginia, because we had lived here for several years and never saw anything like it. Then again, we’d also had a garden every year for 10 years at our old house and never encountered a tomato worm until we moved here.

Tomato worms look like green, eyeless dinosaurs, about as big around as a dime and about three inches long that burrowed tunnels through our tomatoes on the vine. Stinkbugs look like dinosaurs too, but little miniature ones. They have big feet like they have oversized shoes on and a shield on their backs. They don’t bite, they don’t sting, they probably don’t even eat much, whatever it is that they eat.

I’m in a live and let live mode, so when I saw the stinkbug in the upstairs bathroom, I was concerned about him (and I’m just guessing it’s a him). I’m pretty sure he burned his feet, so I turned off the light and he dropped to the floor.

I was afraid somebody was going to step on him. Actually, I was afraid I would forget and I would be the one to step on him. So I moved him over to the cabinet. Then I thought it would be better if he spent his recovery time in the front room. So I picked him up and put him on the cedar chest.

He spent a few minutes acclimating himself to his new surroundings then flew to the picture on the wall. I kind of forgot he could fly. Then I kind of forgot about him completely for a couple days. Hopefully his feet had healed up from his “battle” with the light bulbs and he would go about his business.

Later, I got the not-quite-remodeled bathroom ready for my shower. I put down blankets and towels to protect the bare wood floor, pulled the curtain closed to keep the heat in and turned on the water.

As I stood in the shower, I noticed a little brown splotch on the floor. Good lord, it’s my little stinkbug.

“What the heck are you doing in here?” I scooped him up (still going with male here) and dropped him on my towel that was waiting for me on the floor outside the shower. I used a different one while my little stinkbug buddy aired himself out on the other one. While I did my business, he crawled over to the scale. He didn’t register anything on it and then crawled under it. I didn’t see him come out the other side, so I checked and there he was, in a little nook, just resting.

I checked a while later and he was gone. Then a stinkbug passed me going from the football room to the front room. I hope it’s him. Never thought I’d have such a long and strong relationship with a stinkbug. And now that the weather is improving, if I see him again, he’s going outside. Just fair warning.

Laura Nethken
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