Monday, August 01, 2011

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Stink Bug
The brown marmorated stink bug is believed to have arrived here from Asia in the 1990s. It has made its way from Pennsylvania to at least 33 states, and has been spotted as far west as California and Washington. A continuing advance is inexorable, scientists say, because the bugs have no natural predators and can travel long distances — not by flying, but via a more convenient method: covertly hitching rides in vehicles.  The name stink bug comes from their tendency to eject a foul-smelling glandular substance when disturbed or squashed.

Though annoying to homeowners, the bugs pose a serious problem to agriculture, piercing fruits and vegetables and sucking out the juices, scarring the fruit skin and leaving corky, brown areas beneath. The bug has been found in 33 states. But its maddening infestation is worst in the mid-Atlantic, where thousands of bugs invade homes, buzz around reading lamps at night, stroll across TV screens, land on dinner tables and become lodged by the hundreds in window sills.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
EPA approved, for emergency use, the insecticide dinotefuran (trade names Venom and Scorpion) on tree fruit to help manage populations of the brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive insect that has caused extensive yield losses in tree fruit production in the mid-Atlantic region. The approval, known as an emergency exemption, applies to Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina and New Jersey. Under the exemption, producers of stone fruit (such as peaches, plums and cherries) and pome fruit (including apples and pears) are allowed to manage the brown marmorated stink bug with two applications of dinotefuran by ground equipment per season.

Under the emergency exemption provision of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, states can petition EPA for the use of an unregistered pesticide on a temporary basis if it will help alleviate an emergency pest problem. Before approval, EPA must be able to support the use from a health and safety standpoint. EPA has assessed the risks of the exemption involving dinotefuran and finds that it meets the current safety standards. Dinotefuran is already approved for use on leafy vegetables, cotton, grapes, potatoes and a variety of other crops. (EPA, NYT, 5/20/2011, L.A. Times, 8/1/2011)

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