Sunday, January 17, 2010


My parents have a bug infestation in their house in Maryland that's hard to ignore. The guilty critters look a lot like stink bugs, but have a longer body, a crisscross design on their backs, and long back legs that spread out into a leafy shape near the feet.

We always just refer to them as the Goddamn Stink Bugs at my parents' house (they buzz around like bumblebees and then land unexpectedly on faces, necks, ears, etc.) However, after doing a little research, I believe these insects to actually be Western Conifer Seed Bugs (L. occidentalis), which are true bugs that like to suck the juices out of pine seeds. They're native to the western United States, but have spread all throughout the US and into Canada, and have unfortunately even invaded Europe. They have great big piercing mouthparts which look quite alarming, but they are actually very peaceful and harmless bugs--except when it comes to conifer seeds, of course.

Some hitchhikers of the Western Conifer Seed Bug variety managed to travel from Maryland to Brooklyn in my backpack on Amtrak this past holiday season. Now they are flying around here, landing in our hanging lamps and turning my cat into a psychopath (she's staring up at the offending bug in the lamp while yowling piteously and wishing she could cruelly kill it. She WILL NOT STOP.)

As a weird coincidence, my pal Aydin Örstan over at Snail's Tales was just blogging about actual stink bugs today. In urinals no less.


  1. What are the conifer seed bugs doing in your parents' house?

  2. I read today that they will overwinter inside buildings and become semidormant, so I guess they're just hanging out and waiting for spring!