Academic journal article Science and Children

Combating Stink Bugs

Academic journal article Science and Children

Combating Stink Bugs

Article excerpt

First detected in the United States a decade ago, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states, is wreaking havoc in homes and gardens, and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables, and row crops. It's no wonder the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks this pest as its top "invasive insect of interest."

But help may be on the way: USDA scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., are searching for ways to control the stink bug by deciphering its genetic toolkit, studying the pheromones it releases, and evaluating potential attractants for use in commercial traps. ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

ARS chemist Ashot Khrimian led a team that identified an "aggregation pheromone" that shows promise as an early-season attractant. The pheromone, released by male stink bugs when they feed, attracts males, females, and nymphs (the immature form of the stink bugs) to feeding sites. When mixed with other structurally related chemicals called stereoisomers, the pheromone is relatively simple to synthesize. …

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