My husband calls these little guys primordial bugs because they look ancient, but how such daft, clumsy creatures could have survived for eons is a mystery to me.  They sneak into the house with the single-mindedness of a deprived dieter attacking a frozen cheesecake, but once inside, they completely lose sight of their agenda, so I’ve never been able to figure out what their end game is.  Far as I can tell, they bumble around aimlessly and crash into things, or plant themselves directly in harm’s way and wait for disaster to strike.  Their mortality rate is 100%, minus the ones I capture and deport back to the Great Outdoors.  (Unless they make it back inside, which they’re probably trying to do at this very moment…)  Survival of the Dim-witted-est?


On autumn’s cusp descend the hated stink bugs
Google calls them brown marmorated stink bugs

Keen to enter, they slink around screens and wait
for windows to be opened, motivated stink bugs

Others breach the threshold in my laundry basket
affixed to socks and towels, calculating stink bugs

and fall victim to heat-finishing; discovered in the
dryer lint screen, corpses of dessicated stink bugs

Most zoom around aimlessly, surviving headfirst
collisions… bumbling, uncoordinated stink bugs

only to perish in the toilet bowl, beneath a shoe,
at the paw of a torturous cat, ill-fated stink bugs

One daring fellow lands on my toast, legs mired in
citrus flypaper, an orange marmaladed stink bug

The lucky ones succumb to old age, lying on their
backs on the tile, pathetic, leg-waving stink bugs

What is the purpose of these pungent Kamikazes?
Explain to me, please, why God created stink bugs

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  1. Tippy Gnu September 2, 2018 / 7:25 am

    Perhaps they’re here for your amusement and irritation. You folks back east get some strange insect invasions, what with stink bugs, black flies, cicadas, and the ilk.

    Out here we call the pinacate beetle a stink bug. It’s about inch-long, black, ground-roaming creature that sticks it’s ass in the air and emits a noxious odor when disturbed. They’re the insect version of a skunk. If you step on one you’ll be stuck with its stink for hours, just as if you were to run over a skunk with your car. Fortunately they don’t often end up in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan September 2, 2018 / 9:50 am

      I guess every part of the country has its own particular plagues, Tippy. There are a lot of different kinds of stink bugs; emitting a foul odor must be a popular insect defense mechanism. Ours are the “brown marmorated” kind and they only stink if you crush them, which is hard to do. They have a remarkable ability to flatten their bodies and sneak through any little chink in your house’s armor. According to Google, they are pests that attack fruit trees. (Really? I keep fruit in a bowl on the counter and they’ve never touched it.) Anyway, I’m not sure that counts as a “purpose.” Side note, since you mentioned cicadas… did you know the noise they make can exceed 100 decibels? That’s as loud as a jet take-off, outboard motor, lawn mower, motorcycle, garbage truck, or jackhammer! No wonder I’m half-deaf. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu September 2, 2018 / 10:14 am

        I understand that cicadas have a 17-year cycle. So I guess every 17 years, ear doctors must do a bang-up business.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan September 2, 2018 / 2:45 pm

        There are 13-year ones as well, I’ve heard. So the audiologists make even more moola. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. L. T. Garvin, Author September 2, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    The rationale behind their creation is certainly a puzzle to me. I’m well aware of those torturous paws as I have several cats who take great sport with unfortunate insects sneaking into the house. Marmorated, you say? I suppose that’s much more exotic than just being plain old brown. I like this ghazal entomology quite well 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan September 2, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      Thanks, Lana. I can’t imagine these creatures being part of the food chain… if you kill them, they smell so awful you’d never want to eat them. The cat would probably stop toying with them if they’d quit waving their legs, but they aren’t very adept at playing dead. Marmorated means marbled or streaked, which makes them two-tone brown, like the (exotic?) Chevy Impala we had when I was a kid. Have a great Sunday! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. murisopsis September 2, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    They seem to get into my house and make it their mission to fly at my head and try to land on my body. I do a fair amount of shrieking and subsequent toilet flushing as I dare not smash them… Loved the poem. I’m inspired to try my hand at the Ghazal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan September 2, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      So, they do have a mission, then? Ours like the giant overhead fluorescent light in the kitchen and repeatedly crash into the plastic dome that covers it. If I shrieked every time I saw one, I’d have chronic laryngitis. Glad you enjoyed the poem and form. I have a few other ghazals on my site… if you click the search icon at the top (looks like a little magnifying glass) and type in ghazal, they will pop right up. If you write one, please share it with us. 🙂


  4. snoozing on the sofa September 4, 2018 / 8:40 am

    I’ve never smelled any of the billions of stinkbugs that made it into our house. Maybe they are attracted to stinky stuff, which would explain why 99% of those we find are in the boys’ room.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan September 4, 2018 / 10:06 am

      Good theory, Snoozin. The marmorated ones don’t stink unless you crush them, which is difficult because they can morph into super-flat mode. You can’t just step on them, you have to crush with your shoe, as if you were putting out a cigarette. Try it. I bet you won’t do it a second time. Google says they “winter over” indoors, and kids’ messy rooms have plenty of hibernation-friendly nooks and crannies. The weird thing is, they all die. Every single one. Coming in my house is like being admitted to Stink Bug Hospice. 🙂


  5. Quirky Girl September 20, 2018 / 10:52 am

    Eww. I first encountered stink bugs during our brief years in Washington state when I was 12. One morning, I woke up to find one in my bed. Or more specifically, crawling down my arm. I flung that suckers so far across the room in a mixed fit of panic and disgust. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan September 20, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      Eeeww is right. Stink bug season is in full swing here in Ohio. I’m not as freaked out by them as I used to be. They don’t bite or bother much of anything, just bumble around until they die and get swept up in the dustpan. The only insects that creep me out are ticks; when I walk my dog (in a woodsy area), I wear Wellies and douse myself with cedar spray. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. circumstance227 February 23, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    I had never seen one of these bugs until I came to Europe – I didn’t know they were native to North America too. They used to freak me out with their loud whirring noise when they fly. Strangely enough, though, I don’t mind the smell so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 23, 2019 / 4:46 pm

      They smell kind of like rotting cilantro if you smash them. I’m told they come inside to hibernate, but the ones in my house die of clumsiness and/or stupidity within a week or two of arrival. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 February 23, 2019 / 4:50 pm

        I am with you on the stupidity part. They are the easiest bugs to catch.

        Liked by 1 person

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