A changing climate could make more of the U.S. suitable for stink bug habitats.
According to a new study from Washington State University, the amount of suitable habitat for brown marmorated stink bugs in the U.S. could grow up to 70%. Researchers say that whether the stink bug population grows will depend on whether stink bugs can thrive in new areas. It also depends on mitigation efforts to stop climate change.
“Every system will change with climate change, so the fact that you can grow garbanzo beans, lentils or wheat without these pests now, doesn’t mean that you will not have them in a few years,” said study lead author Javier Gutierrez Illan, a Washington State University entomologist. “There are mitigating things that we can do, but it is wise to prepare for change.”
These stink bugs are considered invasive as they’re native to Asia. They first appeared in the U.S. 20 years ago and have emerged in 46 states. They’re considered a pest in 15 states, Washington State University researchers said.
These stink bugs don’t thrive in cold winters and struggle in dry conditions.
Washington State University said some states are employing parasitoids to stop their spread.
“Most growers learn from their parents or from the previous generation, but the information that they had is probably no longer as useful because the climate is changing, so they need these types of tools,” Gutierrez Illan said.