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Government Eases Pesticide Rules To Target Stink Bugs

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The possibility of massive crop loss from the brown marmorated stink bug has convinced the federal government to ease some of its pesticide rules.

But as Alex DeMetrick reports, killing this insect from Asia won’t be easy.

There’s no one pesticide that kills all bugs.  On farms, spraying takes into account the crop and the insect.  No pesticides were approved for the brown marmorated stink bug…until now.

Maryland’s Department of Agriculture received paperwork from the EPA, freeing up the use of a pesticide sold under the brand names Venom and Scorpion…but only in fruit orchards.

“In Maryland specifically, the orchards have been hit very hard the last two years.  All experts predict booming populations of stink bugs again this year,” said Dennis Howard, Maryland Department of Agriculture.

While the insecticide might protect orchards, a lot of other crops remain vulnerable.

“They probably like the largest smorgasbord there is and that’s everything.  That’s different than any other kind of insect we’ve tried to control,” said Robert Black, Catoctin Mountain Orchard.

Researchers setting traps and examining young apples and peaches are already seeing stink bug damage.  A lot of pesticides have been tried.

“But within a certain amount of time, they metabolize the pesticide and wake up with maybe a hangover and go back into the trees,” said Bryan Butler, UM Extension Service.

But Maryland’s Department of Agriculture says the pesticide cleared by the EPA will kill stink bugs, but more poisons are needed for use on different crops.

“There’s concern using the same product over and over again.  The insect will build up resistance to it, so we want to have several different products that would be available for different crop situations,” Howard said.

Because the brown marmorated stink bug is native to Asia, it has no natural predators here to keep it under control.

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