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WSPA-TV (Greenville, SC - Asheville, NC): New Type Of Stink Bug Invading South Carolina

11/2/2011

PICKENS COUNTY, SC - A new type of stinkbug is invading the Carolinas and it's capable of a lot more damage than the usual suspect.
It's not the typical stink bug. It's called the brown marmorated stinkbug, and it has a black and white checkerboard border along its wings. Experts say this pest is almost impossible to stop.

Sherry Aultman, the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator at Clemson University, says - the smell is awful.

"It's kind of like the first spray of a skunk," said Aultman. "It's pretty bad."
Aultman says these pests are new to South Carolina, and their population is exploding.

"There are no natural predators to keep its population levels in check. They've just exploded in population over the course of the last few years, and really causing problems in agriculture."

An adult is about a an inch long but can cause a lot of problems to for farmers, eating up and destroying fruit trees.

"The damage to agriculture on some crops is between 25-50 percent, so it's a serious pest," said Aultman.

So far, the stinkbugs have been spotted in 35 states. In South Carolina, they've made their way to Spartanburg, Lexington, Pickens, and Oconee Counties - but Aultman thinks there are more of the little stinkers out there.

"We do think that they're in more places."

This invader was accidentally brought over from Asia in 2001. Since then, the bug has been moving closer and closer - hitchhiking its way to the Carolinas.

This winter - many folks will be seeing them crawl into their homes.

"Once they start trying to get in through screens, through cracks, and they do smell bad, so they're quite a nuisance, once they get into your house, if they find a way in, and you try to either vacuum them or kill them, they're gonna stink your house up"

Once these bugs have invited themselves in, there's no easy way to get rid of the stinky situation.

Experts say these bugs are tough on farmers, who have to spray insecticides to get rid of the bugs. That's an additional expense for them.

For homeowners, the best thing to do is check with a pest control company - but it's a tough battle.

TRACKING THE PESTS:

If you see any of the brown marmorated stinkbugs at your home, you're asked to take samples to the Clemson Extension Service offices. Aultman is working to help track down and monitor the spread of these new types of stink bugs.

You can also follow the spread of the stinkbugs at this website: http://www.clemson.edu/public/regulatory/plant_industry/invasive_exotic_programs/brown_marmorated_stink_bug.html
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