A Smelly Predicament: Invasive Stink Bug Threatens Willamette Valley Crops

A new, stinky, invasive species is threatening to wreak havoc on Oregon’s speciality crops, like Hazelnuts, grapes, and various fruit bearing trees.

stinkbugFirst observed in 1996, in Pennsylvania, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug(BMSB), has since spread to 33 US states.  In 2012, OSU entomologists conducted a  survey of the the state and found that BMSB had established colonies in 6 counties, including throughout the Willamette valley and Columbia Gorge, and they detected its presence in 3  other counties.

What makes the BMSM such a particularly serious threat is the very wide variety of plants on which it feeds ,from apples and other tree fruit, to vegetables, and field crops like corn and soybeans,: said Mark Seetin USApple’s Director of Regulatory and Industry Affairs.”

Because of the dangers of insecticide use to secondary species, like Bees, the best potential way of limiting this pest is to attack it during the winter. The adult BMSB can only survive the winter by making their way into homes, attics, wood piles, or garbage heaps,  If Oregonians ensure that their buildings are sealed, and in the case of wood pilings and garbage heaps netted, they can help limit the spread of this pest without relying on potentially harmful insecticides.

OSU encourages anyone who has observed the BMSB in their fields or homes to send comments to: BMSB@oregonstate.edu

 By William Tatum

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