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New stinkbug could be ready to invade Pennsylvania

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 04:16:43 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 05:16:37 PM CST

A new stinkbug that hitchhiked from Japan is causing problems for some farmers in the United States.

They're creepy and crawly, but they're relatively harmless.

A new stinkbug that hitchhiked from Japan is causing problems for some farmers in the United States, and it looks like it could be setting its sights on Pennsylvania.

Megacopta cribraria is also known as the kudzu bug because of its appetite for the invasive Kudzu vine.

"The bad thing is after it gets done feeding on the kudzu, the next thing, the next generation usually heads towards the soybean crops," said Nancy Troyano, an entomologist with Ehrlich Rentokil in Berks County, adding that the bug has farmers worried.

The kudzu has been found in Georgia and has spread rapidly across the United States. Troyano said it's not in Pennsylvania, but it's only a matter of time.

The Japan native is stinky when squished like the ones found in Pennsylvania, but has a secret weapon all its own.

"They are a lot like the brown marmirated stink bug, but they have one additional weapon in their arsenal, which is this defensive secretion, which can cause a mild dermatitis," said Troyano.

Many people said they have heard of the new stinkbug and its added threat.

"You know, it's like chess. They are trying to figure out a new system to outwit us, " said Bob Swaim.

Troyano said the kudzu doesn't bite, but handling it can give you mild blisters. She said it's unknown, if it reaches Pennsylvania, whether it will survive our colder climate, but if it does, she said treat it like any other stinkbug and put it outside.

Troyano said homeowners should seal up their windows to keep the pest at bay.

As for farmers, Troyano said they will also be preparing for the potential arrival of the kudzu. If it happens, she said it will likely be next year.