The stink bug has landed

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

T JUST over 1cm across, the mar­morated stink bug isn’t the big­gest in­vader to hit Bri­tain’s shores – but it may be the smelli­est.

Named after the pu­trid stench it re­leases as a de­fence mech­a­nism, the bug is ter­ror­is­ing the US and has been spot­ted in Switzer­land, France and Italy. Bi­ol­o­gists say it will “in­evitably” in­vade Bri­tain. The bugs, na­tive to China, Ja­pan and Tai­wan, were ac­ci­den­tally in­tro­duced to the US in the mid1990s. They have since spread to 40 states and in 2010 ru­ined £23 mil­lion (R404m) of ap­ple crops.

The brown bug is shaped like a shield and re­sem­bles sev­eral species common in Bri­tain. But the stench of rot­ten garbage it pro­duces is unique.

En­to­mol­o­gist Max Bar­clay, of London’s Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, said: “I think the brown mar­morated stink bug will es­tab­lish a pop­u­la­tion here. It is only a mat­ter of time.

“It will make its pres­ence felt quickly be­cause it comes into peo­ple’s homes in au­tumn and win­ter. An­ces­trally, it used to hi­ber­nate in caves and houses are the next best thing. In ho­tels in Amer­i­can states, you have signs warn­ing about stink bugs in rooms. It’s very hard to get rid of them be­cause they lay eggs and even if you get the ex­ter­mi­na­tors in to vac­uum them up, they come back the fol­low­ing year.”

The Gov­ern­ment’s Food and En­vi­ron­ment Re­search Agency is warn­ing peo­ple to check any im­ported plants and con­tain­ers. – Daily Mail

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