EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) — The brown marmorated stink bug is causing millions of dollars in damages to crops in the mid-Atlantic region. And it may be just getting started.
The bug is native to Asia. It began appearing in mid-Atlantic orchards in 2003. It’s now been spotted in 33 states, including every one east of the Mississippi River and as far west as California.
The U.S. Apple Association says its industry appears hit hardest, with $37 million in damage to growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
The insect has no domestic predators and researchers say insecticides can reduce but not eliminate the problem.
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.