Researchers in Door County are keeping a close eye on the spread of the brown marmorated stinkbug, which has wreaked havoc on crops throughout the northeastern United States.
Anne Deutsch, agriculture agent with the University of Wisconsin Extension in Sturgeon Bay, has been trapping for the bugs in Door County the last two years. Last November she asked residents to bring in samples of bugs they thought could be the brown marmorated stinkbug. She received several samples, but none turned out to be the brown marmorated.
“I set four traps last year and have not gotten anything yet,” she said. “Over the winter, someone from Door County submitted a photo of one and from what we can tell it definitely is a brown marmorated.”
The bugs are of particular concern to apple growers, as the bugs devour apples.
“They’re not easy to kill, and they move easily,” said Matt Stasiak, supervisor at the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station in Sturgeon Bay.
“But until we get confirmation that there is an infestation we aren’t going to sound the alarm too loudly.”
Significant populations have been confirmed near Madison, Minneapolis, and the Fox Valley. The bugs infest homes in fall before spreading to crops.
“They’re a huge problem nationwide because they eat basically anything,” Deutsch said. “They’re a big problem on the east coast. I’m hoping we can learn from what they do to control them.”
Deutsch said that if you find what you think might be a brown marmorated stinkbug, put it in a small container like a pill bottle and put it in the freezer until you can drop it off at the Door County Government Center in Sturgeon Bay.