Skip to comments.Stink bug spread worries growers across nation
Posted on 05/22/2011 3:10:09 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued
An insect with a voracious appetite, no domestic natural predators and a taste for everything from apples to lima beans has caused millions of dollars in crop damage and may just be getting started.
The brown marmorated stink bug, a three-quarter-inch invader native to Asia, is believed to have been brought first to the Allentown, Pa., area in 1998. The bug began appearing in mid-Atlantic orchards in 2003-04 and exploded in number last year.
This spring, stink bugs have been seen in 33 states, including every one east of the Mississippi River and as far west as California, Oregon and Washington.
"All that we do know for certain is that a tremendously large population went into overwintering in fall 2010. So, if they survived, there could be a very large population emerging in the spring," said Tracy Leskey, a research entomologist at the U.S. Agriculture Department's Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville W.Va.
Growers in the mid-Atlantic region have reported the worst problems, and the apple industry appears hit hardest, with $37 million in damage to growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the U.S. Apple Association. That's about 18 percent of the Mid-Atlantic crop.
Mark Seetin, the association's director of regulatory and industry affairs, called it the worst threat to farmers he's see in his 40 years in agriculture.
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LOL! I am 70 and the stink bugs have been around all my life, unless they are talking about a different variety. I think our stink bugs are green.
In PA we started getting them 2 years ago and are now infested with them. Everything from gardens to cars in a garage are susceptible to their damage. They infested us from China and I will not forget that it was our corrupt politicians (not China) who were responsible.
The politicians got their lobbyist kickbacks just as Abramhoff and others got theirs. We paid the price.
I have a couple of pounds of the food grade Diatomacious earth and I plan to use it on these guys this summer. Have you actually used it?
I was surprised to see them in April, but I had lots of dead vegetation in my garden that could harbor them. Sprayed and killed lots of clusters of newly hatched.
"Nasty holes in the fruit that at first I thought were caused by birds."
The damage to tomatoes is much like a bullseye. They 'sting' the fruit and inject saliva-like substance that looks like it damages the flesh in rings.
On the farm we are acutely aware of stink bugs, as they will ruin immature cotton bolls in a heartbeat, and they can destroy soy beans too.
Same here. They cling to window screens in Indian Summer. When killed, they smell like acrid pine sap.
I was never like this until recently, but now I kill almost every bug I see. Mea culpa.
I am with you. These guys have been around for a long time. I remember them in the ‘60s. Maybe not the same variety but they were around!
Our Diversity is so beautiful; parasites, pests, TB, Leprosy, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Infections such as MRSA. Oh Lord! My leg tingles everytime I hear evidences of our growing stronger with each crossing of the border.
Japanese beetles are one of the few* natural attackers of a Japanese botanical pest, “mile a minute” vine (some call it “triangle razor vine” or “tearthumb” which has been spreading across southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
Like the beetle and the stink bug it was a stowaway.
*Whitetailed deer are discovering the vine and will devour it. The deer have become overpopulated but the good unitended consequence is that they are controllng this pest as well as multiflora rose.
True, but apparently not this particular type of stink bug.
Potato bugs are so much worse! They are so ugly you will have nightmares!
It kills all bugs and worms without mercy. I love the stuff.
I don’t think it affects earth worms. They are my gardens friends.
He got it at Lowe's, comes in a good-size box. He used a mask and latex gloves because he didn't want to breathe it, wet down the plant (hisbiscus) with probably a fine spray on a hose (would do it on an overcast day) and just tossed the stuff on the plant, said it lasted for about a week then have to reapply but worth it if it works, better and safer than powerful chemicals.
They had come back from vacation, and there were 15 on his hisbiscus which is right across the fence from my pussy willow; those are preferred plants of the beetle among many others. A week later the count was only 3 which is pretty good considering I don't know if I'd treated my pussy willow with Sevin or not.
I'd need to use a lot more than he did so I'd try to find an applicator that will dispense dust but maybe try it first. You might want to do a little more research on it.
If those stink bugs like soybeans, that is a concern to me. I know the beetles like corn and get in the silk but that's usually self-pollinated before they ermerge; planting has been late this year though. Jap beetles emerge from the ground as adults and the larvae like to feed on grass roots, then burrow way down for the winter. You might have some luck with predator birds eating the larvae, think that's why I've seen so many brown woodpeckers around that had never been here before so don't chase them off. Starlings also like them as do turkeys and ducks.
I'm going to get some netting, too, the kind you use for party and bridal clothes and cover some plants won't look so nice but I don't care, got some baby raspberry plants I started from seed.
The biggest worry is have we reached critical mass? I'm told so far they haven't been that much of a problem with crops, but then nothing aggressive is being done to eradicate them around here.
You can bet if they get in the grape, almond and fruit crops in CA which they like, they will have to pull out all the stops. With the stink bugs, I did like the idea of finding the young and killing them. When I pick, I drown them in soapy water but came to be an exercise in futility and exhausting.
One more thing I did which may have helped some is treat my lawn with oh can't think of the name of it, got it at Home Depot in a big bag and used a spreader, best time to do that is between July 15 and Aug 15 and needs to be watered in. I got lucky and got a good rain, actually applied some when it was raining a bit. Wish I could remember the name, I just did, Grub X.
Whatever you try, good luck. I'm so fed up with these things,ruins my summer. I don't mind bugs generally but these things have come to creep me out. Just a few people try to get rid of them any way they can, but it takes a community effort. They got so bad downtown, they sprayed, and my daughter said there were hundreds of dead ones lying around, probably attracted by trees. They do treat the golf course and rose garden; nurseries don't have too much of a problem because they generally have to fly in because they can't gestate under asphalt.
I'm trying to share everything I've found out about them. Killing them is better than repellants (with the earth is) but anything that works is worth it. The damn beetles get up in my birch trees, start at the top, no way I can spray those; so far they just do damage but some places will get so bad they will defoliate a whole tree. They're a real problem with lindens.
Please ping me if there are any new developments. Massive outbreaks will get people's attention; the fact that the stink bugs feed on the actual fruit is not good.
Whatever you do, don't use Bayer products where the active ingredient is imidacloprid, the same stuff in Advantage for pets for fleas. That is residual on flower blooms and kills bees and wasps, and I partly but not totally blame that for the destruction of honeybees. There was a good article in the LAT about that class of chemicals called Bzzzzzzz Kill, then went into suspect products. They got in the grape crops in France, and settled a lawsuit with France over it, conducting more studies in Germany (where those products are mfr'ed).
When they first appeared, they did everything they knew at the time to try to control them, no dice.
These stink bugs sound even worse. I'm not against a natural predator but could have unintended consequences like anything else.
We had those Asian orange ladybugs, would swarm on the south side of my house but not so bad in recent years. Generally ladybugs are good to keep the aphids down. You don't want to kill earthworms. They are a sign of healthy soil and good for the garden.