Wildlife

Stink Bug Invades US

A little brown bug that smells like dirty socks or like a skunk’s spray is invading northeastern US homes and eating their way through millions of dollars worth of agricultural crops. Really, and it’s not just a Hallowe’en legend, according to EzineMark.com.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, originally from Asia, first appeared in the US in 1998. Since then, the rapidly reproducing bug has spread throughout the Mid Atlantic states and westward towards California.

California agricultureThe bug uses sucking mouth parts to attack a wide selection of food producing and ornamental plants, causing deformation, discoloration and dry, cork-like areas in the fruit of host plants. Some northeastern US farmers have lost over 50% of their crops as they became unmarketable. The recent discover of the stink bug in California raises concerns over how it could damage the state’s large agricultural industry.

California’s climate is so mild the bug could reproduce all year. While pesticides can destroy the nymphs (young bugs), the adults are strong fliers so can invade a treated area from an untreated area fairly easily. And treating can get expensive. Unless effective monitoring, preventive and control methods are developed, the stink bug could cause serious shortages, higher prices and more dependence on foreign imports.

As if that’s not enough, the bugs are also invading the homes of northeastern US residents. The bugs can appear in massive numbers, sometimes in the thousands, on the exterior walls of homes. When this happens, dozens can make their way inside the home, making people live with it.

So sometimes nature, with the help of invasive species, can give a show that is better than most Hallowe’en shows. It’s just a tragedy when it’s real.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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