Stink bugs are more than just an annoyance to farmers

Local News

(WKBN) — It’s definitely spring in northeast Ohio — birds are returning, animals are coming out of hibernation and stink bugs are crawling from their nooks and crannies to drive homeowners crazy. But for some people, these invasive insects could be a disaster, rather than just an annoyance.

When stink bugs find a good spot to live, they send out a chemical that tells other stink bugs to move in — and it’s very, very difficult to get them to move out.

“Stink bugs, it’s really hard to get rid of all of them but you can at least control the population,” said Matt Lloyd, with Grace Services.

There are chemicals that can destroy stinkbugs and target their egg nests.

Inside the home, the bugs are a nuisance but in the farmer’s field, this invasive species can be a financial nightmare.

“If you’re a soybean farmer, they can cause a lot of damage to your soybean crop and cause significant loss in yields,” said Lee Beers, with the Ohio State University Extension Office. “Fortunately, we haven’t seen that in northeastern Ohio but it is a concern to be watching.”

The bugs also like fruit and vegetable crops. Farmer Rick Molnar knows them well.

“When we start picking, we don’t like to use pesticides at all unless it’s catastrophic and we feel we have to do something,” he said.

The alternative is losing valuable product.

“They’ll bite into the fruit and it makes marks and it’s not a quality product,” Molnar said.

As the stink bug population continues growing, the farm community will be watching.

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