Stink Bug Crisis: Congress Sniffs Out a Solution
The stink bug crisis that’s ravaged orchards and vineyards has spread to 38 states, prompting the United States government to research ways to deal with the menace, according to the Washington Examiner. The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) has been dealing a considerable amount of damage to East Coast agriculture, damaging apple, peach, and grape crops at an alarming rate. Apple growers in the Mid-Atlantic region have reportedly lost nearly $40 million since the odorous insect has taken up residence there. Unless something is done to squash the problem, crops continue to be in serious danger.
“Clearly these bugs are spreading and they are more than just a nuisance because they smell. They have the potential to devastate crops – apple crops, peach crops, grapes. We have to get a handle on it,” Rep. Frank Wolf explained.
In order to stop their rampage, $831,000 has been set aside to research what can be used turn the proverbial tide in the war against the stinky insect. Our potential hero: a tiny Chinese bee, which, according to scientists, lays its eggs in stink bug eggs, effectively killing them. What happens when the bee is done laying waste to their arch enemies remains to be seen.
The situation, according to Wolf, is becoming a very large problem, prompting Congress to push the Agricultural Department to step up research. “The language in the farm bill is designed to keep pressure on the department to address problem, which is spreading,” Wolf explained. “We have seen reports that they have appeared in at least 38 states.”
The stink bug, in case you were wondering, gets its name from the smell it emits whenever it feels threatened. This is used to prevent birds, lizards, and other predators from using the insect as a food source. Even handling the bug can result in the emission of the odor, which, according to Wikipedia, smells like cilantro. However, anyone who has ever come into contact with the bug will tell you that it has an odor all its own.