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Stink bug spreading, causing problems for Hudson Valley crops


Highland, NY – It's a new and unwelcome sight for many in the Hudson Valley, and throughout the mid-Atlantic region. WAMC's Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Greg Fry has more on concerns over an invasive insect that is getting around in the region, and leading many to take notice...

The brown marmorated stink bug first showed up in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the mid 90's. The insect is common in Asia, specifically Korea, China, and Japan, but has become a threat here in the eastern United States. Peter Jentsch is an entomologist with Cornell University's Hudson Valley laboratory. He says the populations are often kept in check overseas, but are making a splash here in the U.S.

A majority of the sightings of the small insect in New York have come in Ulster and Dutchess Counties. While most New York sightings have been in the Hudson Valley, the stink bug has been seen as far north as Rensselaer County near Albany, and even on Long Island.

The concern over the spread of the insect has led to a project aimed at finding out more about their expansion throughout the region. Jentsch explains that the project will include the placement of a pheromone in about 25 to 30 locations to draw the insect in.

Estimates are that the brown marmorated stink bug has done 37 million dollars worth of damage to apples in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, according to a national industry survey. Peter Gregg is a spokesperson for the New York Apple Association. He says the concern is now spreading to the Empire State, and that's causing the association to call for action on the federal level.

The insect, while posing a threat to crops, is also becoming noticeable in residential areas of the Hudson Valley as well. Jentsch says it's important to understand that the species is a sporadic, seasonal pest, which wants to come inside during winter, and find its way outside as temperatures continue to climb.

Farmers throughout the Hudson Valley will have a chance to receive an update on efforts to control the invasive species this Friday, during events scheduled by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Ulster County CCE Programs on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Click on registration forms for more info