OSU targets invasive stink bug that threatens valuable crops

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OSU is studying how to use bug-on-bug warfare to stop the crop-damaging brown marmorated stink bug. (Photo by Chris Hedstrom.)
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Halting pest's spread in Oregon is vital to future of hazelnut, wine industries

The brown marmorated stink bug is not a picky eater. The invasive species has a taste for more than 100 types of crops, including staples of the Oregon economy: blueberries, wine grapes, cherries, hazelnuts, and others. Since 2009, the insect has damaged hundreds of millions of dollars of fruit in the eastern U.S.

Recognizing the pest's threat to Oregon agriculture, the OSU Extension Service is teaching farmers how to acclimate to the stink bug's behavior and it's teaching people how to distinguish it from look-alikes. OSU researchers have also combed the state for the bug, finding it in 13 counties – including all of the Willamette Valley – and even near some large agricultural operations.

Additionally, OSU is studying a possible nonpesticide solution: a tiny wasp from China. Smaller than a pinhead, the wasp lays its eggs in the stink bug's eggs, thus preventing them from hatching.

Source: OSU entomologist Vaughn Walton

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