The Stink bug spread has growers across nation worried. The bug has a voracious appetite, no domestic natural predators and has caused millions of dollars in crop damage and may just be getting started.
The brown marmorated stink bug, a three-quarter-inch insect 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 2003-2004 and exploded in number in 2010.
This spring 2011, 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. 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. The bug, named for the foul smell it gives off when crushed, will feed on nearly anything, including cherries, tomatoes, grapes, lima beans, soybeans, green peppers, apples and peaches.
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