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A Stinker of a Pest: IPM Researchers, Educators Team Up Against Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Posted: December 7, 2011

A new pest has been pigging out on many of North America’s most important crops, posing an unprecedented threat to U.S. farmers. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) burst onto the scene in 2010, causing catastrophic damage in most mid-Atlantic states. Some growers of sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, apples, and peaches reported total losses that year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now awarded $5.7 million to ten institutions across the country for research and education to help growers cope. The value of susceptible crops in the 33 states where BMSB has been established or sighted exceeds $21 billion, says Tracy Leskey, the USDA entomologist at the project’s helm. Last year, the pest cost apple growers alone $37 million. Leskey’s team of 51 researchers has its work cut out: uncover the mysteries of BMSB and use that knowledge to find management tactics that work—traps and lures, biopesticides, and natural enemies that kill BMSB. The Northeastern IPM Center will coordinate outreach, putting solutions in the hands of growers who need them.