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USU professors see alarming spread of two kinds of insects

LOGAN – Professors from Utah State University say they’re seeing a growing infestation of a couple of relatively new insects to Utah.  One of which could cause significant damage to crops.

The first is the Elm Seed Bug, and Entomology Specialist Diane Alston says you can think of them as the summer version of the Box Elder Bug.  “We’re seeing these very large, if you want to use the word, explosions of populations during the summer,” she says.  They look and behave a lot like the more well-known Box Elder Bug, and they’re considered more of a nuisance simply because of the mess they can leave behind.  However, it’s a mess that can be easily cleaned.

What really has Alston concerned is the growing Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  She says, “It’s not going to be just a nuisance pest.  It’s going to be ravaging our gardens.”

This insect was native to Asia, and it has made its way to Utah, but, not before causing serious damage to apple crops in the mid-Atlantic area.  She says, “In 2010, it was their first big, crisis year with this insect.  Their apple industry, alone, lost over $3.5 million just from this one insect.”

It has a voracious appetite, according to Alston, and they can suck out most of the fluid growing inside fruits or vegetables.  She adds, “We’ve had a few tomato samples submitted this year that we weren’t sure [about].  We suspected it could be Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  Basically, they made the tomatoes inedible.”

(Photo Credit: Utah State University)