By MITCH LIES
AURORA, Ore. -- An Oregon State University entomologist at a blueberry field day here July 12 asked farmers to keep an eye out for the brown marmorated stink bug and report findings.
To date, researchers have found the bug primarily in urban settings. But the high numbers being caught indicate the bug is well established and poses a risk to commercial agriculture, said Vaughn Walton, Oregon State University horticultural entomologist.
The brown marmorated stink bug is an Asian species first found in North American in Pennsylvania in 1996. It was first found in Oregon in Portland in 2004.
It now has spread throughout much of the Willamette Valley and as far east in Oregon as Hood River and as far south as Phoenix, according to OSU researchers.
The bug is considered a major agricultural pest in Asia and in the Eastern U.S., where it attacks many crops, including tree fruit, corn, berries and grapes.
Walton asked growers to watch for the pest, which is distinct among stink bugs because of the distinct white bands on its antennae.
Walton said the university is working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture on control measures, including testing parisitoids.
Researchers are working on two parisitoids to date, Walton said, one from China and one found in Oregon.
Growers who find the pest are asked to contact the OSU Department of Horticulture via the internet or by calling 541-737-3464.