The government shutdown has had an unlikely impact on the area’s farmers and residents. And it involves an old nemesis; the brown marmorated stinkbug.
Coming to America in the 1990’s and spreading to 40 states so far, the stinkbug has caused major damage in South Jersey this year, infesting farms and damaging crops feeding on apples, peaches and corn.
As this is October, it’s the time of year that stinkbugs are looking to winter indoors, inside your home. And since we had better than average warmth this spring, their numbers could be quite high. But that’s where the problem lies; no one really knows for sure.
“We don’t have enough data to compare year to year right now,” said Anne Nielsen, a researcher of Rutgers Department of Entomology. “It’s unfortunate that (the shutdown) happened right now in the middle of the count.”
Since the government shutdown, the United States Department of Agriculture Great Stink Bug Count of 2013 has been, well, shut down. So information from survey participants that would’ve proved useful will be lost until government reboots.
Still, people have been reaching out with data on what the bugs are doing in their homes. “We’re starting to get a lot of phone calls from homeowners now”, said Joel Flagler, head of Rutgers agricultural extension for Bergen County.
The BMSB comes inside during the fall months looking for a place to hibernate. It doesn’t feed or breed at this time. Nor does it carry any diseases harmful to humans. They get in through holes in screens, open windows or garage doors, cracks or crevices along windows and doors.
They might be found inside between cushions, under pillows or beneath papers; but if you run into them don’t crush them as doing so releases the skunk-like odor.
For more information on identifying and controlling stinkbugs in your home, click the links below.
Source: Stink bug season starts to hit home, Scott Fallon, The Record (as reported in the Courier Post)