Stink Bug Invasion

I remember in the autumn of 2009 when I opened my front door to go to the bus stop and at least ten stink bugs fell onto the floor. Their hard chitin shells made a small “clack” noise as they hit the ground and I remember having a very bad day that day. 

Stink bugs have and are still a huge problem for many people living in the northeast of the US. For many people, they are nuisances, buzzing around the house and releasing an awful stench wherever they fly to. The small open section between the window and the mesh screen is packed with bodies of stink bugs and on colder days they are crowded around doorbells and the cracks around your door. 

However, the situation is even worse for farmers, whose crops have taken a huge toll because of the invasion of the stink bugs. Stink bugs are originally from East Asia, and have natural predators such as the parasitoid wasps that control their population growth. However, in one incident in 1998, a couple of the insects have attached themselves to cargo loads going from Asia to Pennsylvania and have since then populated the northeastern area. They target fruit and vegetables, sucking up the juices of the produce, creating unsightly “dimples” in the plant which in turn has caused the produce sales in the US to drop. Because of their lack of natural predators at this point and the abundance of heat and food, they have managed to add two extra generations to their lines and can now live even longer and lay more eggs. 

Invasive species have in many ways directly caused agricultural failure, but also indirectly causes economic difficulties as well. While it may seem impossible for us to eradicate the stink bug population, we may think of introducing their natural predators over to America, but, that also raises the question of whether or not these new species will become our new pest problem for the next couple of years.


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