OSU targets invasive stink bug that threatens valuable crops

brown marmorated stink bug
OSU is studying how to use bug-on-bug warfare to stop the crop-damaging brown marmorated stink bug. (Photo by Chris Hedstrom.)

Halting pest's spread in Oregon is vital to future of hazelnut, small fruit, 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 blueberries, wine grapes, cherries and hazelnuts. 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 identify symptoms originating from the pest's damage, as well as teaching people how to distinguish it from look-alikes. Additionally, OSU hosts a website with the latest news about the pest, photos to help identify it, and instructions on how to report sightings. OSU researchers have also combed the state for the bug, finding it in 18 counties. The pest has been located in all major fruit producing regions – including all of the Willamette Valley – and near some large agricultural operations.

OSU is studying a possible long-term 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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