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Rep. Wolf continues to champion efforts in war on stink bugs

Watch out stink bugs, Congress has directed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ramp up efforts to deal with the pests.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who has championed efforts to find a way to deal with stink bugs not only because of their stench but because of the havoc they wreak on crops – including apples, peaches and grapes – said there is language in the recently approved 2014 Omnibus spending bill to continue to prioritize stink bug control research at USDA.

The new language is part of a five-year plan to find a solution to the problem.  He said the bill requires USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to help states implement biological control technology to minimize the pests once it is developed and directs EPA to quickly approve any recommendation so products can be sold on the open market. 

Native to China, the stink bug was first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1998.
The pest has no natural predator in the United States and is reproducing at an increasingly rapid pace.  It has already spread to 40 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada, which is 15 more states than when the committee first addressed this issue in 2011, Wolf said.

USDA estimates that roughly $21 billion of crops could be at risk.  In 2010, the last year that data was available, the stink bug caused over $37 million in damage to the apple crop in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

While many efforts have been made to combat this pest, it is estimated that this year’s bug cycle will be 60 percent stronger than in 2013.

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Board Patrol reported that a new kind of stink bug
was discovered on a shipment of Mexican basil at San Francisco International Airport - the first time this species has been found in the Bay Area

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