Stink bugs have invaded nearly 38 states, causing destruction of crops on the East Coast and leaving a foul odor across the nation. Scientists are working to find a new pesticide to kill the bugs, but are still waiting for the 2012 Farm Bill to pass through the Senate.
Famers have reported infestations and destructions of their apple, peach and grape harvest. One report given to the House of Representatives states that the insects are "causing significant damage to agricultural products, particularly the apple crop in mid-Atlantic states."
That damage comes to a total loss of $40 million per year, experts say. Now scientists are awaiting passage of the Farm Bill, which includes $831,000 specifically to help develop a pesticide or examine another way to control the stink bug population.
The stink bug is not native to the United States but was transported from China, thereby causing unforeseen damage to crops and releasing a foul scent when upset or smashed. One way to control the population is by importing a Chinese bee, which lays its eggs in the stink bugs' eggs, thereby killing them.
"Clearly these bugs are spreading, and they are more than just a nuisance because they smell," Representative Frank Wolf told the Washington Examiner. "They have the potential to devastate crops-apple crops, peach crops, grapes. We have to get a handle on it."
The stink bug is considered an agricultural pest by many but its relative, the anchor bug, is actually seen as beneficial to populations by killing Mexican been beetles and Japanese beetles.
Some have suggested using DDT, a well-known pesticide that was banned by the Food and Drug Administration for its harmful side effects. The chemical remains controversial, with some scientists not having a problem with the compound. Yet environmentalists credit the ban with improving the population of the bald eagle.