Stink bugs wreak havoc on Willamette Valley crops

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Farmers in our region are under attack! The enemy: A tiny, smelly invader called the brown marmorated stink bug.

Experts say if it's not controlled soon, the pest could cause millions, if not billions, of dollars in damage to area crops.

VIDEO: Watch KGW report

It's a problem that has Clark County farmer Joe Beaudoin fighting to save his fruits and vegetables. The pest has already destroyed thousands of dollars worth of peaches at Joe's Place Farms.

The brown marmorated stink bug is an almost indestructible pest originally from Asia.

Beaudoin first noticed the bug in his peppers last year. So this year, he sprayed his peppers with an insecticide, but to his surprise, the stink bug moved onto his more delicate peach and pear crops.

"If we don't control them this year, next year we are going to be inundated," said Beaudoin.

Peter Shearer is an entomology professor at Oregon State University and an expert on the brown marmorated stink bug. He says if not controlled, this pest can damage everything from berries to wine grapes and even hazelnut crops.

"There's more crops that are being effected and more areas being attacked by this insect and it's just going to get worse before we find solutions to control it," Shearer said.

Shearer has put up traps in Beaudoin's fields to hopefully catch the stink bugs so he can learn more about how to better manage them.

He says while some insecticides have helped kill the stink bug, those chemicals also kill other "good" bugs which keep other pests away.

In the meantime, Beaudoin is worried about the stink bug explosion he expects to see in about a month, when all the newly laid eggs hatch.

He says he is gearing up for a fight.


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