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Stink Bugs Love Apples

Apple DamagePeople love apples—the tart-tasting ones for cooking or sweeter ones for snacking. The brown marmorated stink bug likes them, too. Populations are increasing, and so are damages to orchards. In 2010, stink bugs dined on and damaged 10 to 20 percent of fruit crops.

Greg Krawczyk, extension tree fruit entomologist, received $50,000 from the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board to immediately begin exploring ways to control the pest. Since no natural predators exist in the United States, stink bugs reproduce freely from May to October. Krawczyk is studying the biology and life cycle in hopes of finding a method to control or eliminate them instead of depending on short-term pesticide relief.

Stink bugs are able to develop and feed on 300 different host plants, creating problems for homeowners and the entire agricultural community. Krawczyk is hopeful that a long-term solution will be discovered within a few years.

Photos: STEVE JACOBS