Get Ready for Even More Stink Bugs

Scientists consider introducing Asian wasp to kill invading crop-destroyers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2011 10:55 AM CDT
Get Ready for Even More Stink Bugs
A brown marmorated stink bug.   (Shutterstock)

If your town is already overrun with stink bugs, bad news: There's little relief in sight. Last year, the non-native brown marmorated stink bug sunk its proboscis into the Mid-Atlantic apple crop, ruining $37 million of fruit; after that, they swarmed into local houses to hibernate. Now they've emerged and are at it again, and things seem even worse than last year, government entomologists tell the Washington Post. The bugs are apparently migrating to the Southeastern US from eastern Pennsylvania, where they made their first American appearance in 1998.

In the warmer climates where they’re heading, their population could soar even further, experts say. “If they get to Florida, it could be like the atomic bomb going off,” notes a researcher. Unlike in their native Asia, the bugs have no natural predators here. Two insecticides have been approved for use against them, but the chemicals also kill bugs farmers want to keep around. Entomologists are working on a different solution: introducing an Asian wasp to the US that attacks the stink bugs’ eggs. Trouble is, the wasp might kill native insects, too. (More stink bug stories.)

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