Fears of a threat to crops after stinkbug discovery

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A feared increase in a stink bug species could become “problematic” for crops and gardens after a species is found in Surrey, experts have warned.

The brown marbled bug, native to Asia, gets its name from the foul odor it gives off when threatened and can grow up to 1.7 cm.

After a solitary insect was caught at RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Garden Wisley in a pheromone trap, there are now fears of an increase in the population of invasive species.

During the summer, pests feast on fruits and vegetables by piercing the surface and sucking up the juice, deforming the produce and causing it to rot, he warned.

This is not a sudden invasion but potentially a gradual accumulation and spread of the population, exacerbated by the warming of our world

Glen Powell, RHS Garden Wisley

They are also said to invade homes in the fall and stain curtains and carpets.

Invasive species are said to cost the UK economy more than £ 1.8 billion a year.

Dr Glen Powell, Plant Health Manager at RHS Garden Wisley, said: ‘The installation of pheromone traps in our gardens allows us to study invasive species from their arrival in the UK through to colonization. potential.

“Although there is currently no evidence of breeding, we would expect the stink bug to increase in prevalence and it can become a problem in gardens during the summer and homes during the winter months of” here five to ten years.

“This is not a sudden invasion but potentially a gradual accumulation and spread of population, exacerbated by the warming of our world.

“The bedbug is not the first to land on our shores and will not be the last, and understanding how we can best manage it is the next challenge for the research community that supports gardeners and commercial fruit growers and vegetables. “

The pheromone trap – which releases insects’ natural odors to attract them to a sticky board – is part of a project led by NIAB (East Malling) and funded by Defra.

The discovery was made at RHS Garden Wisley (Steve Parsons / PA)

It is not yet clear how the insect got to the UK or if the species breeds locally, with the ERS suggesting there may be an undiscovered population.

The south-east of England is believed to be the northernmost limit of the bug’s potential range, although climate change means it could spread further.

Dr Michelle Fountain, Head of Pest and Pathogen Ecology at NIAB EMR, said: “The brown stink bug poses a significant threat to food production systems in the UK, so it is crucial that we continue to monitor any establishment and spread of the pest.

“Long-term development of environmentally sound management and control strategies will be necessary for the research community to keep industry and gardeners one step ahead of this pest. “

There are over 40 species of stink bugs, also known as shield bugs, already present in the UK, but most pose no threat to plant health and are not considered pests.

A Defra spokesperson said: “The marbled bug is not a significant threat, but as with all pests and diseases, we will continue to monitor any threats closely.”


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