THURMONT, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland farms are on the verge of a food crisis.
Funding is slashed in the fight against stink bugs.
Weijia Jiang has outrage from farmers and the far-reaching damage of the stink bug epidemic.
They’re annoying and they mate like crazy.
For Maryland farmers like Bob Black, Asian stink bugs are potentially devastating.
“This is an unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Black, Catoctin Mountain Orchard.
Everything grows on his 100-acre farm in Thurmont.
“Strawberries, other berries, cherries, plums, peaches and apples,” said Black.
His produce is just what the critters are hungry for.
“If you’re a grower and you’ve smashed ’em you don’t think they stink. They make me so mad the damage they cause to my product,” said Black.
The USDA has set up traps all over Black’s farm. On a red and white tab there are pheromones to attract the stink bugs, that way they know when they’re moving in.
Like many of his colleagues, Black is banking on new research to find out how to control the pests, which for now seem immune to the most common pesticides.
Black recently found out the federal government slashed funding for a key position to study why.
Representative Roscoe Bartlett is pushing congress to dedicate funds.
“If I was a mad scientist and I was splicing genes together to create a bug that was really nasty I couldn’t do better than this,” said Bartlett.
Last year, stink bugs wiped out 20 percent of Black’s crops. With more of them now, Black is bracing for this year to be even worse.