Recent weather to blame for stink bug boom

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Pennsylvania
This Thursday, April 14, 2011 file photo shows a brown marmorated stink bug at a Penn State research station in Biglerville, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — Recent weather conditions are being blamed for an influx in an invasive pest now appearing in West Michigan orchards and vineyards.

Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen says a combination of recent warm weather and relatively mild temperatures last winter is leading to an uptick in brown marmorated stink bugs.

The insect is an invasive species originating from Asia. Brown marmorated stink bugs fare best during warm summers with ample rain.

>>Inside Bill’s Blog: Stink bugs | Storm Team 8 forecast | Winter outlook

The bug feeds on plants and have damaged orchards and agricultural fields on the East Coast.Michigan State University researchers say the number of stink bugs in West Michigan are low enough that farmers and growers are not using insecticide against them at this time; however, they expect the bug to become more of a pest within the next two to three years.

This year, the MSU Extension reports a majority of the stink bugs they’ve caught have been in apple and peach orchards in Berrien and Van Buren counties, as well as the Fruit Ridge area of Kent and Ottawa counties.

MSU Extension map of brown marmorated stink bugs
A Michigan State University Extension map of reported cases of brown marmorated stink bugs since Sept. 24, 2015.

MSU researchers say they’ve also trapped them in a number of Berrien County vineyards and a cherry orchard in Van Buren County. Allegan, Ionia and Kalamazoo counties are being monitored for brown marmorated stink bugs as well.

Homeowners may also see more of the insect this year. Studies show the invasive species slightly favors light-colored homes when looking for a place to hibernate.

>>Report stink bugs at your home

The upside: brown marmorated stink bugs should soon die out as the weather turns colder. Bill says this winter will likely be colder than last year, so there should be fewer six-legged survivors.


MSU Extension: What to do about stink bugs in your home

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