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Cilantro and Stinkbugs

Is it just my imagination, or do they really have a similar smell? (For the record, I LOVE cilantro, but I hate, hate, HATE these stinkbugs that have invaded PA.)

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  1. To me the stinkbugs smell like earwax. It's a bitter smell, nothing like cilantro at all.

    1. Yuck! I too hate stink bugs. They get everywhere, like little skunk bombs. And they bite!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Whinerdiner

        They bite??? I guess I've been lucky so far. They're ubiquitous, but not hungry. In fact, I vacuumed a bunch of them up into a little DustBuster-type vacuum, and days later they were still alive. Dumped them into a bucket of soapy water -- bye, bye stinkbombs.

      2. They don't bite or sting or anything other than smell unpleasant when crushed. Other than being agricultural pests, they're just unpleasant to have in the home. Just round 'em or vacuum 'em up & toss them out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Breezychow

          I made the mistake of using my regular vacuum cleaner to suck 'em up. Then I put the vacuum back into the closet. Next time I opened the closet -- what a stench! Now I use a dedicated hand-vacuum which gets stashed in the garage. BTW, I read that if you flush them down the toilet, they still don't die.

          1. re: CindyJ

            If I flush them and they don't die, I don't care. At least they are no longer in my home.

            I think I know what you mean about the cilantro/stink bug correlation. It's almost like heated plastic. Today we had a ton of bugs at work and an industrious coworker took great care to sweep them all out the door. Unfortunately many got crushed. For hours people would come by and ask if something was burning.

        2. NEW STUDY:
          Overall, Eriksson says these studies demonstrate that DNA does shape our opinion of cilantro, but probably not enough that we can't overcome it. "It isn't like your height, that you're stuck with. People can change it," he says.

          So is there hope for the extreme cilantrophobes? Maybe.

          As Nature reports, McGee offers a strategy for building up an appreciation for the herb: Try a cilantro pesto. Crushing the leaves, he says, releases enzymes that convert the soapy, stinky compounds into more mild aromas. The recipe for the pesto is on the website.

          2 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            But why bother trying to "overcome" it? I loathe cilantro, and have no inclination to "learn to like it". There are myriad herbs, spices and tastes in the world, and what I already like gives me a wide range to choose from in enjoying food.

            1. re: mcsheridan

              i didn't suggest that -- i was quoting the article. as far as i'm concerned, i couldn't care less. i love cilantro, and my nephew hates it. meh. who cares?

          2. There is more than one scent profile (the males),ask anyone who is in an area where we put up with swarms for 2-3 years.
            Thankfully we are out from under that here.

            1. Yes, they have a similar smell! I think if I had had stinkbugs before I began to love cilantro, well, I would not be a cilantro lover. I hate stinkbugs. That is the understatement of the year.

              I keep a tall jar with about an inch of white vinegar in the bottom and that is how I kill stinkbugs. They often will jump in the jar if you tap the rim on the wall just below them. Actually, I keep 3 jars like this on hand: 1 in the house, 1 on the porch and 1 in the vegetable garden. It seems hopeless to bother with the ones outside, but I read that the female can lay up to 300 eggs in her lifetime.

              12 Replies
              1. re: MrsJonesey

                You can go cheaper,I use an old jar etc with water and a tiny bit of liquid soap.Cuts down on odor also.Swarmed,09',10' & 11',my most successful control of choice is hand pick,scrape or trap.

                1. re: lcool

                  I'll have to give this a try. When we first started having a problem, I would spray them with Simple Green.

                2. re: MrsJonesey

                  A couple of years ago I started making stinkbug traps out of plastic water bottles. Very clever -- you remove and discard the cap, then slice off the top of the bottle about 1/3 of the way down from the neck. Invert the top portion, place it into the lower section and attach the two sections with masking tape. So now, let's say there's a bug on the wall. Just place the open part of the trap over the bug and slide it along the wall until the bug falls in through the small opening. The bugs can climb up the wall of the inside of the bottle but can't climb out the opening; neither can they fly straight up out of the trap. After you've trapped a bunch, put some soapy water into the bottle to kill the bugs; then toss the bottle out with the trash. (Okay, I suppose you can also put it in with the recycling.) There are more sophisticated versions of these that actually attract the stinkbugs with LED lights, but this one is fine.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    Well, went out yesterday before the storm and counted 40 on my garage and backdoor area......so my LED light bottle went out last night (protected from the rain) and today's catch is about 8.......still a ways to go

                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                      I hate to jinx it, but... I haven't seen a single one since spring. We had the house sprayed last year and it seems to have reduced the stinkbug population significantly. Let me know if you want the name of the guy who did the spraying. He was originally recommended to us by someone in the entomology department at PSU.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        And as of yesterday -- they're BAAAAAAACK!!! Not in the house yet, but swarming around the back deck. I even saw a green one for the very first time.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          As I was reading CH the other day, I happened to glance up at my window overlooking the Garden.....6 outside...3 inside.............gonna be a long fall!

                          trying that bottle/light idea trap..we'll see if it works

                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                            traps do work

                            I maybe out of the woods here,after three years.We had a mini swarm on the 24th when I responded to Bill Hunt below and nearly nothing since.

                        2. re: CindyJ

                          They overwinter in the house and leave in warm weather. The will return to your home in the fall. Although they hibernate in the winter, they can become active because our homes are warm inside. If you have Empress Tree (aka Princess Tree, pawlonia) , or Tree of Heaven (ailanthus) in your yard, then you have a stinkbug magnet. Get rid of them - they are non-native invasives anyway. In addition to being obnoxious when in our homes, they also destroy stone-fruit crops.

                          1. re: Just Visiting

                            How interesting -- I never knew that pawlonia trees are not native (actually, I never gave it any thought). We do have one very old one growing in the woods at the side of my house. Nearby Longwood Gardens has a long walkway lined with them, but I doubt there's a stinkbug to be seen there.

                            1. re: Just Visiting

                              "...or Tree of Heaven (ailanthus) in your yard, then you have a stinkbug magnet. Get rid of them - they are non-native invasives anyway."

                              Good luck with that. Ailanthus is one of the most tenacious species around.

                      2. Don't i remember that the root meaning of coriander is "smells like bugs"? I love it anyway.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: buttertart

                          Yes, it comes from the Greek koris, bedbug.

                          1. re: mbfant


                            love your scholarly posts, mbfant! good to see you posting more (or at least more that i'm seeing).

                        2. This is not my first time recounting this story. They not only smell like but sadly taste like cilantro. When I was little there was a few areas where wild blackberries grew. I was the youngest of three so I was trying to keep up with my brother and sister by stuffing berries in as fast as I picked them because the patch was small. Needless to say one had a stinkbug on it. Oh the taste. Eeeewwww. I was done with berries for the day. Strangely enough I like cilantro.

                          8 Replies
                            1. re: suzigirl

                              I would have been scarred for life. lol. Today when I submerged some just-picked basil into some salted water, I started smelling stinkbug. It was one of the green ones. I was so afraid all my basil would taste like stinkbug. I quickly grabbed all my basil out of the water and started again with fresh water plus a drop of dishwashing liquid. Thank goodness my raw tomato sauce tasted of basil, not stinkbug.

                              1. re: MrsJonesey

                                I have plenty of food scars but shockingly cilantro isn't one. I guess my brain doesn't connect the mouth feel of cilantro to a distinct stinkbug crunch. Most things I dislike are because of texture, not taste. And some I genuinely like the taste but cannot get past the texture. I am glad that your sauce didn't taste of stinkbug but I guess you could have ran with the cilantro taste and turned it into salsa(kidding). From a girl who has been there, never eat those beasties. Eeeewwww.

                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  That's funny. I actually made a big bowl of salsa today too, but with cilantro, not stinkbug. lol.

                                  1. re: MrsJonesey

                                    Stinkbug salsa. Shudder. I would like a big dish of your salsa instead. Mmmm mmm.

                                  2. re: suzigirl

                                    when you talked about the crunch, for some strange reason i wondered if the bug people out there ever thought of making stink bug kimchee?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      If someone does they can have my share.

                              2. Not for me.

                                Now, I have never eaten a stinkbug, even as a child - I knew better.

                                Cilantro, I enjoy with the right dishes.

                                Some say that it smells like "soap," and that is a far cry from stinkbugs, but I have not noticed that either, and I have a great sense of smell, and also aroma memory.


                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Mr Hunt,

                                  STINK BUGS weren't around when you and I were children.They only hitch hiked in from Japan ,?4 or 5 years ago,landing in south,central Pa.Pushing south and east to feast on crops and foul homes.
                                  They do stink,males only,too noisy when flying and if and when they SECRETE it isn't just an OBJECTIONABLE odor.It is a STAIN,not an easy clean up.
                                  They arrived here spring of 09' in numbers we could have lived with.Not so fall of 09'.
                                  Vision,a 7' x 9' wall COVERED three deep at 13:00 in September.Shop-vac to the rescue.We sucked them up,wet vac some soapy water and dumped.ONE HOUR later it was exactly the same.This went on at dreadful levels until this spring.Until the day before yesterday I have only seen had less than 100.One day warm up and a mini swarm (300-400) on one wall.On a 42 acre property having birds that recognize them and flock to eat them has been the release from the curse.Along with a fogger bomb well timed in the attic.This problem does not sit well with neighbors in their uber everything ,new 12,000 - 30,000 square foot homes.

                                  1. re: lcool

                                    stink bugs have been around for decades.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Well, the Chinese stinkbugs I think, started around 2003, so the s in decades work. They were in a shipment of wood that ended up in Allentown PA so the story goes

                                      Ok..quick google check.maybe a few years earlier into the 1990's

                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                        Right -- they entered the US via Allentown, traveled down the Blue Route and headed right to my attic.

                                      2. re: alkapal

                                        i grew up in florida and we had them in the sixties! maybe they came out of cuba when castro took over.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          The one that's become ubiquitous in PA and beyond is the brown marmorated stink bug. According to Penn State's department of etymology, "The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an insect not previously seen on our continent, was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier."

                                          1. re: CindyJ

                                            well, i'm talking about florida stinkbugs. i never knew a time without them. but they were never in the infestations like i've heard about lately.

                                            in terms of bugs, we floridians are always happy to lead the way! ;-).

                                        2. re: alkapal

                                          There's two different kinds: one that came from China (or Japan or whatever), and the one that's native to the US. Mark Twain wrote about them in "Tom Sawyer". I remember being young and reading for the first time about them in his book.

                                          Yes, they can be annoying when they swarm but I actually like stinkbugs because of that book, lol.

                                    2. I went on vacation this past February to a cabin in Virginia, and each night, hundreds of stink bugs would be out on the ceiling of the cabin. My boyfriend and I caught over a hundred, so I got real familiar with the smell. When I came home, I had a burrito which had cilantro in it, and now I cannot eat anything with cilantro because it tastes how those stink bugs smelled!! I am so glad to know that I am not that only person who said this, because my family thinks I am crazy!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: agg5051

                                        You are not crazy. You are dead on.

                                        1. re: agg5051

                                          your family would never lie to you where as a complete stranger might

                                        2. I love the scent of Cilantro. When I walk by my herb garden I'll rub some between two fingers and smell it till I wash my hands.
                                          Stink bugs, NOT!!