Nevada Grain, Fruits, Potatoes Face Stink Bug Invasion

Western state counts of pest rising.

Published on: Jul 30, 2013

Fields in western Nevada face an invasion of stink bugs, with Smith Valley, Douglas and Pershing counties,  Carson City, and North Valleys near Reno sustaining the heaviest hits, reports the Nevada Department of Agriculture and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

"The Say's stink bug gets its name from an offensive odor released with disturbed," explains Jeff Knight, NDA state entomologist. "It develops on a weed called 'tumble mustard' in disturbed and burned areas. As these areas dry up the immature insects will migrate to adjacent greener areas."

It may be a problem for grains, fruits and potatoes if not controlled.

The pest prefers to feed on seeds.

Nevada Grain, Fruits, Potatoes Face Stink Bug Invasion
Nevada Grain, Fruits, Potatoes Face Stink Bug Invasion

"It may need to be controlled if numbers are high," says Knight. "Stink bugs may be difficult to control once they become adults."

Adult insects are considered to be very good flyers and are highly attracted to lights. If high numbers area a nuisance around lights, changing to an amber or yellow color in bulbs can help bring relief.

The bugs are capable of long distance flights in search of preferred host plants.
Most over-the-counter products containing carbaryl or insecticidal soaps should control these insects, he adds. For control in crops, consult the "Pacific Northwest Insect Control" handbook, available online.

The handbooks is updated annually to provide the latest recommendations from researchers.

This pest may have more than a single life generation under Nevada's climate. Second generation numbers are usually much lower, however, due to the lack of large areas of the preferred weedy plants.

Stink bugs are not uncommon in nut crops in nymph and adult stages throughout North America, but is  capable of attacking many different plants, which they damage while feeding.

Grapes are also susceptible to stink bug attacks, as are apples, asparagus, beans, cherries, corn, pears, peas and tomatoes.