New Yorker: When 26,000 Stinkbugs Invade a Home

Brown marmorated stinkbugs are ravaging an array of crops along with ordinary trees and plants. They also swarm some US homes by the thousands. The insect, known for a noxious smell, is a product of globalization, explains Kathryn Schulz for the New Yorker. The stinkbug’s native habitat is East Asia, and the United States lacks natural predators like the samurai wasp. Stinkbugs are attracted to edge habitats, light and warm air and enter homes through windows or tiny crevices. Schulz describes them as “resourceful hitchhikers,” noting: “Prior to the era of planetwide transportation networks, species routinely took millennia to establish themselves in new places. Today, thousands move around the world every day – by ship and plane and freight and pallet and packing crate…. At present, this vast influx of new species costs the United States about a hundred and twenty billion dollars a year and is, after habitat destruction, the main reason the world has lost so much biodiversity.” US scientists identified the problem in 1998, and stinkbugs have since spread to 44 states, Canada, South America and Europe. The insects do not bite people, but suck at fruits and vegetables, leaving a bad taste, and buyers reject crops that have received excessive applications. One entomologist suggests stinkbugs is a among “the major drivers in the history of entomology in the United States.” – YaleGlobal

New Yorker: When 26,000 Stinkbugs Invade a Home

Researchers study and try to control stinkbugs, native insects of East Asia that traveled to the US and Europe, decimating crops and infiltrating homes
Kathryn Schulz
Friday, March 9, 2018

brown marmorated stinkbug
Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (Image: USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory)

Read the article about stinkbugs from the New Yorker.


Kathryn Schulz joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2015. In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing and a National Magazine Award for “The Really Big One,” her story on the seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.


Read more about stinkbugs from Penn State Extension.




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