The Polar Vortex has created unusually cold temperatures in North America which could kill off the annoying Asian Stink Bug population that has infested the country in recent years
By Staff Writer
(INTELLIHUB) — According to a new study, the stink bug population that has invaded America from Asia could be eradicated by the cold winter brought on by the polar vortex.
Thomas Kuhar, a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, and his team have been gathering stinkbugs for the past three years near his campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, to use in lab experiments.
“In the previous two years, natural mortality averaged about 20-25 percent,” he told National Geographic. In January 2014, however, Kuhar’s team discovered that the subfreezing temperatures had killed off 95 percent of the population, National Geographic reported.
The brown marmorated stink bug was accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have hitched a ride as a stowaway in packing crates. The first documented specimen was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in September 1998. Several Muhlenberg College students were reported to have seen these bugs as early as August of that same year.
Other reports have the brown marmorated stink bug recovered as early as 2000 in New Jersey from a black light trap run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Vegetable Integrated Pest Management program in Milford, New Jersey. In 2002, it was again collected in New Jersey from black light traps located in Phillipsburg and Little York and was found on plant material in Stewartsville. It was quickly documented and established in many counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and New York on the eastern coast of the United States. By 2009, this agricultural pest had reached Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Oregon. In 2010 this pest was found in additional states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and other states. As of November 2011 it has spread to 34 U.S. states and by 2012 to 40 and showed an increase of 60% in total numbers over 2011.