Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PITTSBURGH, PA – A new stink bug with attitude is heading toward Pennsylvania.
As if farmers and homeowners haven’t been bothered enough by the brown marmorated stink bug that landed in Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, a smaller but equally pesky bug is making its march toward the state’s border, experts say.
The Megacopta cribraria, known as the kudzu bug, has an armor-like shell and a beak for ripping into plants and feeding on legumes, particularly soybeans.
They can swarm but not feed on other plants such as grapes, wheat and corn, according to researchers at North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Science.
The brown marmorated stink bug is expected to cause, well, a stink this year when large numbers of them begin nibbling on crops and infiltrating homes.
Entomologists are predicting an onslaught of the invasive species based on the amount of overwintering bugs counted in the autumn.
“Most entomologists indicated that the population of brown marmorated stink bugs that were seeking shelter in the fall of 2012 was significantly higher than the population seeking shelter in 2011,” said Tom Ford, a commercial horticulture educator from the Penn State Extension office in Cambria County. “As a rule, unless you have some significant event that impacts the over-wintering adults you should have a very robust number of mature brown marmorated stink bugs that will be laying eggs this spring and summer.”
The insects are emerging from their winter hiding places, and if you’ve spotted one recently, chances are it was on its way to find a mate.
Andrew McElroy remembers getting calls from homeowners about stink bugs and then finding thousands of the tiny critters hiding under house siding or in various cracks or crevices.
“We’d move the siding, and you couldn’t see the brick underneath because it was covered in stink bugs,” he said.
But so far this fall, McElroy, owner of Best Pest Control of Reading, said the shield-shaped bugs with pointy antennae are leaving homeowners alone.
“I don’t think they’re as prevalent as they had been maybe two years ago,” McElroy said. “The jury’s still out. But I can’t recall a situation where I’m seeing a thousand stink bugs like I did a few years ago.”
Everybody’s favorite imported bug does not like the extreme heat anymore than humans do. This explains why we haven’t seen many of them lately. But do not get too excited because they are laying eggs and getting ready for the next wave to hatch. The wet spring (doesn’t that seem like eons ago) produced a bumper crop of stink bugs.
Good news is being reported from fruit growers who were given permission to use a very lethal pesticide to combat the voracious bugs. The insecticide appears to be helping but it must be sprayed directly on the stink bug, which means the process is more labor intensive.
It is recommended that cracks around windows and doors be sealed up now. As the weather turns colder the stink bugs will be looking for a warm refuge. Do not let that be your home!
There’s a new sheriff in town for stink bugs. The EPA is temporarily permitting orchards to use the pesticide dinotefuran. Dinotefuran is normally used on leafy plants but the EPA is allowing orchards to use this weapon to combat stink bugs in PA, MD and NJ. The pesky bugs have been responsible for destroying as much as 40% of some orchards crop!
Back at the ranch, the USDA is working away on a biological weapon but that is at least a year away from being ready. This temporary pesticide exemption is to help farmers combat the voracious stink bugs until the biological weapon can be deployed.
Finally, a stink bug solution!!!! The USDA has come up with a way to get rid of 80 percent of the stink bug population plaguing 33 states (the Mid-Atlantic States are ground zero). A tiny wasp from Asia will be used to wipe out most of the stink bug population. The wasp lays eggs in the skink bug and the babies eat their way out (yuck) killing the stink bug. I am sure PETA will freak out over it but I say hip-hip hurrah! They hope to release the wasps in 2013. If the stink bugs are left unchecked they will decimate our food supply. They are already impacting it!
Here is an interesting article about those pesky stink bugs that entered the USA via Allentown back in 1998. They are worse than ever and evidently have no natural predators, however, they HATE the cold. This article from the York Dispatch talks about the temperature spikes effecting them as well as ways to get rid of them.