Mild winter, warm summer, boost Oregon stink bugs

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Record numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs in Oregon could threaten many late-season crops, such as blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, hazelnuts, grapes, sweet corn, peppers and edible beans.

Although the bug has yet to cause economic damage in that state, Oregon State University researchers they that could change after this summer, according to a news release.

"Even low levels of infestation can result in crop losses," Vaughn Walton, an entomologist, said in the release. "Stink bugs in commercial crops can lead to increased management costs, pesticide use and outbreaks of secondary pests. There's no question stink bugs could be an economic issue."

The university's statewide surveys for the bug show higher population densities in nearly every region of the state.

The stink bug is established in urban counties in and around Portland and in the Willamette Valley.

Since 2012, it also has been established in Hood River and Wasco County.

Most recently, the pest was found established in the Columbia Gorge and southern Oregon.

Last year's mild winter, coupled with this summer's heat, has been conducive for stink bug population growth.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are attracted to late-stage crops as food sources.

Adult and nymphs insert stylets into the fruit or vegetables to feed, leaving behind entryways for pathogens and blemishes.

University Extension specialists and researchers encourage growrs to scout for the pest in their crops and in nearby wooded areas.

The bugs are most easily found on English holly, maples, lilacs and fruit trees.

University researchers continue to conduct studies into the efficacy of insecticides.

In the meantime, they suggest consulting the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook.

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