Combating the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

October brings the peak of the apple harvest and National Apple Month.  Apples are a major crop for Pennsylvanian farmers.  In 2010, our State produced nearly $75 million worth and 490 million pounds of apples, ranking it fourth in the nation.  Pennsylvania is an ideal place to grow apples, with hundreds of varieties grown across the State.   

However, stink bugs have recently become more of a pest in Pennsylvania orchards and farms. These bugs damage crops, such as fruit, by sucking out the juice and injecting saliva. Stink bugs leave pockmarks and spots on the affected crops, making them unmarketable.  As an example of their destructive nature, stink bugs cost apple farmers in the Mid-Atlantic region $37 million last year alone. It is essential to the livelihoods of Pennsylvania farmers to find ways to control the bug and alleviate its devastating impact on our food crops.   

Therefore, I am pleased that Penn State University recently received a Federal research grant to identify ways to combat the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs that are ravaging crop yields.  The Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center and its partners will use this funding to study the negative impact that stink bugs have on orchard crops, vegetables, small fruit and other crops. The research will aid in the development of control strategies designed to mitigate the pest’s impact on farms.  The research is supported the by the Specialty Crop Research Initiative through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, I strongly supported the Specialty Crop Research Initiative in the last Farm Bill and will continue to do so.