Autumn in Hokkaido: Autumn needs and Stink bugs

DSC_0036Ah yes – Autumn!

And in Hokkaido, the chill starts earlier than the rest of Japan!

It is the time to start wearing that extra layer or light jacket to give you that extra warmth that is needed in that slightly oh so chilled air. The sunrise is a little later (Yay- sleep!) but the sun starts to set a little bit earlier.

One thing to start purchasing ( that would still be used in the winter months) is Heat Tech clothing.  It would seem to be a light jersey and /or tights to wear under your clothes – but it does provide extra warmth to your body. UNIQLO, a popular clothing store in all of Japan, has a variety of colours, styles and cuts for both men and women at very reasonable prices.

Start wearing a light scarf and mittens if the air is still a bit chilly for you. A nice thick sweater also helps.

You would notice that some people start to wear boots for the Autumn. This is not necessary (I wore my same shoes throughout – but then again, I like the cold! ) but the boots do provide added warmth to your feet when compared to the sneakers, heels or other normal shoes that we wear everyday in Trinidad.

If you are going to buy boots, make sure that they have some sort of grip. If they are smooth, there is a high risk of falling and injuring yourself – especially when it rains and everywhere is wet.

 

One thing that you may start noticing by early October is the number of stink bugs in your apartment that have somehow made it through every nook and cranny that cannot be seen by the eye. The chill air is kicking their instinct to get warm fast – and they try to do this by entering your nice heated apartment one way or another.

And when I say number – it is a big number! Sometimes, one would reach home and just see bugs everywhere!

Although they do not really pose a threat and will eventually die in your apartment; the truth is that if you try to catch them or hurt them in some way, their bodies get defensive – DEFENSIVE WITH A VERY STRONG, ODIOUS SCENT!

 

So, how could you protect your nose from such a defense in the future?

Let’s start off with some cautionary measures:

1. Resist the urge to vacuum the little guys. They would still release their scent glands.

2. Do not – I repeat – DO NOT mash, smash, squeeze or do anything that could cause them bodily harm! It not only releases the scent they are famous for, but causes an explosion of it!

 

What can you do?

First off, try your best to seal any cracks, openings or crevices in your apartment with silicone filler or tape. This is something that would have had to be done before the arrival of winter to prevent cold air from outside flowing in – so the presence of the stink bugs are a good reminder of that.

Avoid opening your windows and doors for prolonged periods of time. This is like an invitation that they are all waiting for! I sealed the windows of my apartment with tape – and this helped to greatly reduce the number of bugs in my apartment.

If you do open your windows and back door, make sure that the screen door is placed over the opening to prevent the bugs from finding their way inside!

Invest in a stink bug repellant and place by all cracks or spaces that they could be entering by.

There is a bottle of powder with red and yellow labeling that is used for stink bugs and other pests. This could be sprinkled at the base of the genkan door as well as by the windows (once they are sealed).

There is also a spray that is used. It has a very clear picture of a stink bug on it – so spray the apartment at least every other day to ensure it helps to repel.

Additionally, there are sprays that could be used on the window (side facing outside) to repel most pests. This is something that is definitely worth investing in – not just for Autumn but throughout the year. But it also helped in the fight against the stink.

After all of this, there would sometimes be one or two little guys who made their way into the apartment. What should you do?

Well, normally I would leave them alone. They seem quite happy to be warm and play around the bright light in the dining room. Plus, they normally die in a couple of days.

 

Autumn is also the perfect time to start your preparations for the coming Winter . . . which is normally a challenge here in Hokkaido.

My next post will cover some of the preparations that will make you “Winter Ready” for this challenge! So, look out for it!