Original Article: Stink bug population spreading across the USA
Source: Doyle Rice, USA Today Read the Full Article
Stink bugs, otherwise known as brown marmorated stink bugs have since been reported in 33 states, an increase of 8 states since last fall. According to the National Pest Management Association, the bug’s population increase will make infestations significantly worse this year. Thus far, stink bugs are reported to have been seen as far west as California, as far north as Minnesota, and as far south as Florida. While stink bugs can be an obnoxious, stinky nuisance to homeowners, they can be particularly devastating to farmers.
Stink Bugs are native to Asia and probably entered the U.S. as the result of global trade. It was given its name for the pungent smell they emit when frightened, disturbed or squashed. “They have glands that produce a defensive compound, which has a strong odor that repels predators,” says Kim Hoelmer, a research entomologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Food Crops Threatened
Hoelmer says “they feed on a wide range of important food crops.” Crops including sweet corn, apples, pears, grapes, berries, peaches, tomatoes and peppers appear to be the most vulnerable.
“Some growers have lost their entire crop to stink bug infestations,” Hoelmer says. “This adds up to many millions of dollars of losses in crop values. It’s a serious economic loss to some growers.”
The two seasons when people most notice the bugs are in the fall – when they come inside homes looking for warmth and shelter – and in the spring, when they look for ways to come out of hiding.
For farmers, the entire growing season is the time to be weary.
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