They're relatively new to our area, but the little pests can cause big problems. A local farmer tell us about the battle against stinkbugs and the massive amounts of damage they can cause.
You don't have to look hard to find stinkbugs at Sahl's Father Son Farm in Galloway Township. “We have more than I’ve ever seen,” said Jeremy Sahl.
“Never seen anything like this before.” Some were running into problems in their quest to pick the perfect pumpkin thanks to the ugly pest. “A lot of pumpkins with bugs are kinda destroyed all over the ground,” said Kelly Gray, who was picking pumpkins with her son.
“We've always had some stinkbugs here, but they've never been as big as this year,” said Sahl, “right now, you'll find a pumpkin with hundreds of 'em clustered on it.” According to researchers, stinkbugs, which only showed up in America back in 1990s, can now be found in 40 states - and pose significant agricultural problems in six, including here in the Garden State, something Jeremy Sahl has seen first hand. “They literally suck it dry.”
Not all of the damage done to the pumpkins is simply due to stinkbugs. Sahl says once they've bitten through the tough exterior of the pumpkin, it's enough to let harmful bacteria in, which breaks it down.
“That's where the economic impact comes in,” said Paul Utts, of Rid Pest Control, “for homeowners, it is just a nuisance.” One that will that many will likely start noticing in the next couple of weeks. “As we have these cool nights, the stinkbugs will continue to look for warm places to spend the winter and they sense a warm house as a good place to crawl into.”
While simply an annoyance for most, for farmers, it's their livelihood - and Sahl says he'll do what he must if the problem gets worse. “I have some contacts, I may have to bring in some pumpkins and de-harvest them, if you will, just so our customers have a nice, perfect pumpkin.”
Experts say the insect threatens an estimated $21 billion worth of crops in the United States alone.
Pest control experts say the best way to keep the bugs out of our home, is to make sure windows and cracks are sealed, and to eliminate light sources outside of your home.
Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon Thursday after his invitation to a prayer service inside was withdrawn because of comments that insulted people of other religions. More>>