Stink bugs threaten Pacific Northwest crops

Stink bugs threaten Pacific Northwest crops

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 2:51 PM

PORTLAND -- A destructive stink bug is invading the Pacific Northwest and could cause billions of dollars in damage to crops.

The brown marmorated stink bug is an almost indestructible pest originally from Asia. Experts say it’s not only hard to kill, but it also eats almost any crop and is immune to most pesticides.

“It's spreading like wildfire in the Willamette Valley,” said Oregon State University entomology professor Peter Shearer. “We're finding it in hazelnuts, grapes and berry crops.”

Clark County farmer Joe Beaudoin said he first spotted the bugs in a pumpkin crop a few weeks ago, but the population has since exploded. The bugs are now almost everywhere in the pepper field on his 80-acre farm. He said he sees the problem spreading on other farms as well.

“It’s not going to be just me. It’s going to be everybody else,” Beaudoin said. “And we’re going to be looking at millions or billions of dollars worth of damage in our crops.”

The bugs live through the winter and often find shelter in homes, so Shearer said the area could see potentially devastating infestations of them next year.

He said anyone spotting the bugs inside a home should vacuum them up and dump the vacuum bag in a trash bin outside the home (because they stink).

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