Marmorated stink bugs move indoors during the winter months, and now are trying to get back outside.
PULLMAN — Researchers for Washington State University are being deluged with reports, especially from Western Washington, of brown marmorated stink bugs.
Entomologist Michael Bush says he has received 300 reports in three weeks about the smelly creatures.
He says the majority of stink-bug sightings are from King, Pierce and Thurston counties, with sporadic reports coming Eastern Washington.
Bush says the bugs move indoors during the winter months, and now are trying to get back outside.
Marmorated stink bugs gorge on vegetables, fruit trees, nuts and ornamental plants.
They inflicted millions of dollars of damage to agricultural crops in the Mid-Atlantic states in 2010, the same year they were first detected in Washington state. They have been found in 21 counties across the state.
WSU is among 18 universities monitoring the insect’s spread.
“The more we learn about this stink bug species, the more amazed we are by its generalist feeding habits,” said WSU extension entomologist Elizabeth Beers, a member of a national scientist SWAT team. “Naturally, our aim is to keep them from damaging Washington’s crops and orchards,” she said.
Beers is urging people to report sightings of marmorated stink bugs to: firstname.lastname@example.org.