COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Too much of a bad thing. That’s the forecast for Asian stink bugs for 2013.
As Alex DeMetrick explains, after a dieback last year, experts believe the pests will come roaring back in the months ahead.
It may have hitchhiked from Asia in shipping containers, but the brown marmorated stink bug feels right at home in Maryland.
“We’re going to have a boatload of stink bugs coming out of hibernation,” said Dr. Mike Raupp, a University of Maryland entomologist.
Raupp said field surveys are pointing to a population explosion after a sharp decline in 2011.
Possible reasons include Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, which may have hurt stink bug reproduction, and native predators like praying mantises and spiders that suddenly put the non-native pests on the menu.
“That causes a decrease in the number of stink bugs, but when the stink bug populations go down, so do the predators and parasatoids. That allows the stinkbugs to escape. Over the course of last year, the population’s increased dramatically,” said Raupp.
The last time that happened in 2010, crops on farms and gardens were damaged for months.
“I about don’t want to put up cucumbers next year, or squash, because they do such a number,” said Pat Hayden of Howard County.
Some insecticides have been found to kill stink bugs. The problem is you have to treat a lot of crops.
“They’ll go into wheat, then they’re off to apples and peaches and cherries. Then they’re going to be in corn and soy beans, so they’re constantly moving around the landscape. This is one reason they’re so difficult to control,” said Raupp.
One of the favorite places stink bugs like to go over winter is to us.
If you haven’t seen many yet, expect to see them in March, when they begin moving back outside.