NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Stink bugs are causing more than just a stink, as they continue to make their home in southern states such as Tennessee.
The outbreak of bugs could potentially make the bugs mating season longer.
Phil Ganter is a Biology professor at Tennessee State University. He told Nashville's News 2 the effect the bugs could have.
“That means they have potentially explosive population sizes,” he said.
As the bugs grow, they begin to eat and they feast on Tennessee cash crops, such as soybeans.
“It could be a really serious pest if they reach western Tennessee, and it will probably reach west Tennessee eventually. They'll harm soybean crops.” David Cook, University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Agent said.
Researchers believe the bugs, which are natives of Asia, came to the United States on shipping crates. The stink bugs do not have a natural predator here in the states, which is partly why they are multiplying so quickly.
According to Ganter, one way to control the stink bug is in by importing a native Asian wasp which can kill the bugs by laying eggs on top of the bug's larva.
“We also have to know if the wasp can make it in this country, as far as I understand research looks good so far,” Ganter said.
The proposed solution has yet to be approved by the USDA.
In the meantime, farmers will use pesticides to fight off the small, smelly bugs.
“They smell like really dirty, stinky socks,” Cook said.
Agricultural experts told Nashville's News 2 a problem with pesticides is that the older the stink bug are the more immune they become to the pesticide.