Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stink Bug Damaging PA Orchards & Farms

An exotic species of stink bug, the brown marmorated stink bug, is causing damage to farms and orchards in Pennsylvania especially in counties in the southern part of the state. Penn State Fruit Research Center entomologist Greg Krawczyk says this bug, which has a piney or citrusy scent, was introduced to Pennsylvania 10 or 12 years ago.

He says they are not particular about what they eat...."It can feed on almost everything that is green. We have seen this on ornamental plants, on trees, on all kinds of vegetables, all the fruit that we grow in Pennsylvania. The only thing that I don't think they feed on is some conifer trees.

Krawczyk says there's not official tally to the damage to the damage caused by this stink bug but he's visited farms and orchards that have experienced damage to as much as 40 to 60% of their crops. Krawczyk says one problem is that the natural predator of the brown marmorated stink bug is not in this country and introducing the stink bug's enemy here could cause its own negative impact. "People from the U.S.D.A. (U.S. Department of Agriculture) lab are working on evaluating the possible beneficial insect that can be introduced into this country, but that will take some time. It may be awhile before we have any natural enemy (to the brown marmorated stink bug)."
This species is also spreading to West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

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