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Frigid weather killing invasive species, scientists say

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 03 2014 05:09:33 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 03 2014 06:39:31 PM CST

Many of us are ready to part ways with winter, but we may not be as anxious as the Asian stink bug.

Many of us are ready to part ways with winter, but we may not be as anxious as the Asian stink bug.

A recent study suggests this winter may have been too much for the pest to take.

"It has created hope that the stink bug population might be diminished this coming season," said Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State Extension Horticulture educator.

A recent study out of Virginia Tech suggests the bitter cold has killed off nearly 95 percent of the Asian stink bug population.

But Swackhamer said it's too early to tell.

"Stinkbugs are very good at finding hiding spots…That's why we have so many of them in homes….There are probably a lot of them in sheltered areas that are still going to make it through this winter. So it remains to be seen," Swackhamer said.

The stink bug may be bundled up in your home, but Swackhamer has her fingers crossed that other pests won't be so lucky.

"The hemlock woolly adelgid and spotted wing drosophila, we are hopeful it will have an effect on them," Swackhamer said.

The spotted wing drosophila attacks small fruit and vegetable crops.

That's why Swackhamer said a harsh winter could mean a better harvest.

"Hopefully spring populations will be lower, so our strawberries may be more free of this pest problem," Swackhamer said.

Swackhamer invites Mother Nature to also take care of the hemlock woolly adelgid.

"That's an invasive insect that attacks our hemlock tree, our Pennsylvania state tree," Swackhamer said.

But it's not likely that any bug will leave for good. Swackhamer said most insects recover quickly.

"Insects generally have a pretty good ability to repopulate if there is food source and habitat for them," Swackhamer said.