Stinkbugs rule as government, pesticide industry dither

Stink bugs have spread to 36 states — so where are the insecticides?

The Wall Street Journal reports,

Brian Biggins’s life stinks.

The Maryland organic farmer is suffering from an infestation of stink bugs—crop-consuming pests emitting the odor of cilantro mixed with burned rubber and dirty socks. They began destroying his fields of peppers and tomatoes in 2010. Now, they’ve invaded his Adamstown home, where Mr. Biggins crushes them by hand and has trained his English Shepherd, Coadee, to eat them.

Still, thousands scurry across the floor of his farm house.

“For the love of God, my wife is the one I feel for the worst,” says Mr. Biggins. “This is the kind of thing that you don’t sign up for.”

Stink bugs, Mr. Biggins’s brown marmorated nemesis, infiltrated the U.S. as cargo ship stowaways from Asia about 15 years ago and have proliferated in the past two years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the immigrants have spread to 36 states; trade groups say they were responsible for $37 million of damage to apple crops alone in 2010.

“It’s not so much an evolution but a takeover,” says Anne Nielsen, an entomologist recruited by Rutgers University in New Jersey specifically to study stink bugs, known to scientists as the Halyomorpha halys.

Dr. George Hamilton, an entomologist at Rutgers University, where researchers are trying to find ways to control the bug

The winged critters like to feast on crops in the spring and hibernate in warm homes in the winter. So the battle is on—among both scientists and entrepreneurs—to knock down the species.

The USDA has devoted $5.7 million to a task force of researchers who are trying to find a natural predator for the vermin and duplicate its pheromones—attractive scents males spray to mark the location of food and mates—to lure them into traps… [Emphasis added]

Now we wouldn’t want to develop and apply an insecticide, would we?

Read the entire WSJ report.

One thought on “Stinkbugs rule as government, pesticide industry dither”

  1. Are “cedar-cide” products good against the “stink-bug?” Male pheramones with traps would seem a good tactic.

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