October 11, 2010
Progress Toward First Commercial Repellent For East Coast’s Stinker
Help may be on the way for millions of people on the East Coast bugged out about the invasion of stink bugs. Scientists have reported a key advance in efforts to develop the first commercial repellent for stinkbugs, which are emerging as a major nuisance to homeowners and a devastating pest to some farm crops. They identified a natural substance in a fungus that infects a common weed and found that it shows potential as the first stinkbug repellent. Their study appeared in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Hiromitsu Nakajima and colleagues note that stinkbugs are no strangers to Japan. Indeed, they long have ranked as major pests of rice crops there and in some other countries. In contrast, the brown marmorated stinkbug seems to have gotten a foothold in the United States around 1998, and since then has spread, especially in the Mid-Atlantic states, invading homes and damaging fruit and vegetable crops. The nuisance bugs get their name from the skunk-like odor they emit when crushed or annoyed. Farmers are trying to control the pests using a variety of commercial insecticides, which kill the bugs. A stinkbug repellent could be just as effective in keeping the bugs at bay, but no reports on development of such materials have appeared in scientific journals, they say.
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