Friday, October 15, 2010

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

It has become common knowledge that most of the manufactured goods in our houses crossed the Pacific Ocean from our Asian trade partners. Americans have benefited from the cheaper production costs of Asian manufacturers, and we have even been given a free gift for our loyalty as consumers.

Unfortunately, the gift will not cure any economic woes being faced, but it is a gift most residents of the Shepherdstown area have received — brown marmorated stink bugs.

We visited our Shepherdstown family and were amazed at the enormous populations of these stink bugs.

In the car, in the attic, on the deck, there they are ... little shield-shaped insects clinging to everything in our world. The pest can’t be smashed or attacked, as it may perfume the surrounding air with its pungent odor. What a wonderfully efficient defense mechanism this creature has evolved.

Our room at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown had little information cards that indicated that these beasts will likely be in your room and worry not - they are harmless unles you are a plant - THEN RUN!

Stink bugs are identified as an agricultural pest.

The pest now serves as a daily reminder to area residents of how much our life is based on imports. The first stink bugs were sighted in Allentown, PA., in 1998. Over the past 12 years, the odorous arthropod has reproduced uncontrollably, increasing its population especially in the eastern United States.

Their brethren still residing in their homeland of China have not enjoyed this reproductive opportunity, as the environment there is also home to their natural predators.

Scientists theorize the recent acceleration in stink bug populations could be due to an early spring season in the Mid-Atlantic. It’s an interesting theory given the fact we had two feet of snow on the ground in the beginning of March.

Stink bugs can live for years and are currently spending their autumn shopping for a cozy winter residence.

The crops of apples and peaches in the Eastern panhandle of WV have been seriously reduced by these critters. Judy and I wanted to bring home some boxes of local grown apples, but there were none to be found. Wonder how these stink bugs would taste if they were stir fried in a wok?


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