I want to share an article about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and the problems it is causing across the U.S. The BMSB, as it is known to entomologists, farmers and exterminators, is a shield-shaped, armored-looking insect about the size of our thumbnail. The pest is thought to have arrived here in the U.S. about 20 years ago, coming from east Asia, where their ecosystem controls keep it from being a nuisance. Unfortunately, we haven’t been so lucky here in the U.S. The first documented arrival of BMSB was in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1996. Most experts believe it was likely a stowaway in a palletized shipment of goods from China. It took probably another five years for U.S. scientists to make a positive ID, because this bug looks like several indigenous species. The bug feels at home in a variety of landscapes and climates. Interestingly the bug only breeds in summer, and appears to have no real difficulty establishing large populations both indoors and out. Though the worst infestations so far have been in the mid-Atlantic states, it’s really only because they have had a few more years to settle and get established. States further towards the interior of the country, for instance Minnesota, are now starting to report an increase in numbers. In Wisconsin, the bug has been confirmed in 11 southeastern counties and is suspected in two others, including Polk Country, along the Minnesota border. Officials say that the pest has caused no significant harm to crops as of yet, but outbreaks have been unpredictable, so the future is very uncertain. So far, the biggest losses have been suffered by fruit growers; the bugs’ bite creates scars that make apples, peaches and other produce too ugly for market; often, the surface damage is also an indicator of rot within. I have heard that both corn and soybeans can be attacked by the bug, but the outlook is extremely complicated. Damage to sweet corn and edamame is considered a serious problem because of the disfigurement factor. If you’d like to learn more about the stink bug’s presence, history and outlook for states in the Midwest, you can learn more at www.StopBMSB.org. If you’d like to read more about some of the more serious infestations of Stink bugs here in the U.S. you should read The New Yorker article titled, ” When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home”

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