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Stink bug experts gather in Pennsylvania to address growing problem

Suddenly they are everywhere. These foul-smelling bugs, originally from Asia, were first detected in Pennsylvania in the late 1990's. Now they are damaging fruits and vegetables and invading homes in many parts of the United States.

State, Federal, University, and industry entomologists from the eastern U.S. and Canada will converge in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 18-21, 2011, to discuss the brown marmorated stink bug plague during the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America's Eastern Branch during a symposium called "The Plague of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug."

Dr. Tracy Leskey, symposium co-organizer and research entomologist at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Station, notes that this invasive stink bug is very unique because it has become a serious year-round pest. Throughout the growing season, it attacks a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. In the fall and winter, homeowners and businesses are invaded as the bugs seek shelter from the cold. Currently, the brown marmorated stink bug has been officially detected in 33 states and the District of Columbia. During the symposium, researchers and industry professionals will discuss the stink bug's detection and spread in the U.S., its damage to orchards, wine grapes, vegetables and other crops, as well as strategies being developed to control it, including the use of parasitic wasps.

Stink bugs are just the beginning of the emerging pest problems that will be discussed at this meeting. Other destructive insect menaces looming on the horizon are Asian and lesser cedar longhorned beetles, the emerald ash borer, and the Japanese maple scale. Other meeting symposia include:

  • "IDEP: New Pests and New Information on Possible Foes"
  • "Teaching Entomology at Various Educational Levels: Perspectives, Techniques, and Challenges"
  • "Pesticides and Pollinators"
  • "Insects on Woody Plants"
  • "Student Symposium: Tools of the Trade"

The 82nd Annual Meeting's theme is "Survival of the Fittest, Insuring the Future of Entomology." As the future of entomology belongs to students, graduate and undergraduate student research reports are a focal point of the meeting. University students throughout the east and Canada compete in Poster and Oral Competitions, judged by a panel of Society members. Student research covers a wide range of current topics, from pollination and mosquito control to the effect of deer and birds on insect populations. Eastern Branch President and Cornell Entomology Professor, Harvey Reissig, notes that there are a number of exciting symposia on the schedule, including "Pesticides and Pollinators" and a student-sponsored technology symposium which covers Synchrotron X-ray imaging, genomic analysis, harmonic radar, and biomechanics.

The three-day meeting will draw entomologists from northeastern and mid-Atlantic states and several Canadian provinces. The meeting will conclude on Sunday evening with a banquet and awards ceremony. The banquet speaker will be Judson Reid, Cornell University Extension Associate who will discuss, "The Old Order Amish Society in Pennsylvania."


Contact: Faith Kuehn
Entomological Society of America

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