Thursday, September 23, 2010

Little Stinkers!!

By now, most everyone in Maryland has heard about and had several encounters with brown marmorated stink bugs, right? Formerly considered little more than a nuisance, the population of shield shaped insects - widespread in Maryland, Deleware, Virginia and West Virginia - is now said to threaten fruit, vegetable, bean, corn, soybean crops as well as trees and ornamentals. (Smaller populations have been detected in Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, and California).

The bugs - native to China, Japan and South Korea - are thought to have arrived sans any natural predators via shipping containers in or around 2001. While homeowners are finding more and more of them sneaking inside for the winter, the most damage appears to be in orchards. Associated Press reports:

They are about 5/8ths of an inch long and get their name from their marbled shell (marmorated means marbled). "We're fairly certain now that the primary method of distribution for them is in vehicles — anything from tractor-trailers to motor homes to cars," Jacobs said. "We first had them here, then all the sudden a population cropped up in Portland (Ore.). Like Johnny Appleseed, we're carrying them around and spreading them."

According to a report by the USDA task force, the bugs caused serious damage to apple, pear and peach crops in Maryland and West Virginia last year. Other crops are at risk because the bug has a broad palate. Like other relatively new pests, the bugs thrive because the predators that keep them in check in their native habitats don't live here.

"We expect it to be a really bad year based on the information that came out of working groups and speaking with various entomologists," Cooper said. "The numbers that are being observed in nature are huge, just much larger than anything we've ever seen before."

For a real doomsday report about the little guys, check out this FOX News article in which the insects are being referred to as "enemy number one." 
Here is some advice about how to treat an infestation in your home but as always, we here at JustSaying remind you that we are not experts and our hearts err on the side of compassion for all creatures (even when we know better) so... if you find that you are battling a bug infestation "of Biblical proportions," call a professional who will know how much treatment or prevention is neccessary and will be able to explain the pros and cons of chemical sprays.

1 comment:

becky said...

lol about them traveling in vehicles....this morning as I was starting my commute to work, I found one hitching a ride inside my car for the first time. hate them!!