Asian Invasion

Invasive stink bug species found in La Porte County

Erik Hultgren, News Reporter

Stink bugs are small, shield-shaped bugs that are one to two centimeters long, brown in color, have two stink glands under their thorax, and are quickly becoming one of the largest invasive species in the USA.
This past summer, there has been a spike in stink bug encounters in La Porte County. These bugs are not new to the area, but this year there have been record high amounts.
Originally from China, Taiwan, and Japan, the species called halyomorpha halys, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug, was accidentally introduced to America in the 1990s.
No one knows for sure how they got here, but in the years since arriving they have thrived.
Early on, the bugs were only seen as a small nuisance, but, as populations have increased, they begun to have a negative agricultural effect.
Stink bugs are a danger to both vegetables and fruits as they tend to latch on to the skin of the fruit and suck the juices out until they are dry. This danger is only amplified by the fact that the bugs have no natural predators.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has even considered introducing a parasitic wasp that naturally preys on the bugs in Asia, to combat this problem.
Stink bugs only pose a real threat to fruits and vegetables, but they can be quite annoying to deal with, and, in extreme cases, people have found thousands of them in their homes.
“I have never seen this many stink bugs in my life,” said sophomore Riley Shreve. “I love flicking them off of my windows.”
This sudden burst in the population of midwestern stinkbugs has intrigued many agriculturalists. The cause of overpopulation has yet to be discovered, but it could have to do with a variety of factors including global warming and overpopulation in the east.
Pennsylvania was the first state that the stink bugs were introduced to, and this state has experienced population spikes even larger than the ones that the midwest is experiencing today.
The midwest is the last major region of the U.S. to experience an influx of stink bugs, and it seems like the population is only going to continue to rise.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email