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Issues Of The Environment: Stinkbugs Invade Washtenaw County

May 9, 2018

Brown Marmorated Stinkbug
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The brown marmorated stinkbug is in Washtenaw County and seems to be here to stay.  The bugs are now an established nuisance.  They invade homes in the winter and wreak smelly havoc the rest of the year.  What can you do about it and other damaging invasive species?  WEMU’s David Fair searches for answers with EMU Biology Department Professor and renowned entomologist Dr. Jamin Eisenbach on this week’s edition of "Issues of the Environment.” 


Overview

  • The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is a major nuisance pest of homeowners and a serious economic pest of many commercial crops.  Particularly worrisome is the fact that it is a generalist, feeding on almost all types of crops, and most pesticides are ineffective. Farmers are resorting to broad-spectrum pesticides (killing beneficial, native insects), “reversing three decades of environmental and economic progress in terms of managing pests."

  • In 2015, WEMU reported that homeowners were asked to report sightings of the BMSB to MSU to determine how widespread the insect had become.  At the time of that report, 40 cases were identified.  Now, the majority of homes in the county can expect to find the bugs hiding in their dwellings during the cold winter months, and they have become a serious threat to agriculture.

  • Dr. Jamin Eisenbach is a renowned entomologist and professor of Biology and Eastern Michigan University and is familiar with the invasive insects that threaten Washtenaw County.  Globalization brought stink bugs here, and the damage they do is a harbinger of worse invasions of more damaging insects on the horizon.  BMSBs are one of handful of troublesome invasive insects, including the emerald ash borer, Asian ladybug, and Asian tiger mosquito that have come to southeast Michigan.        

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu