House Ag-Bill Raises Stink Bug Priority for USDA

Provisions included in a bill passed by the House yesterday would make fighting the brown marmorated stink bug infestation a greater priority for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Wolf said the annual bill that funds the Department of Agriculture includes new directives for the four research agencies of the USDA to identify and develop effective stink bug control methods.

Another key provision instructs the USDA to work collaboratively with state partners to identify and implement controls for the stink bug invasion.

Halyomorpha halys - Photo Edward Leonard

“I appreciate the assistance of Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee chairman Jack Kingston in identifying ways that the USDA can work more aggressively to find a solution to this critical problem and make the stink bug invasion one of the top priorities for all research agencies at the department,” Wolf said.

The bill passed by the House was referred to the Senate, which also must pass its version of the spending bill.

Stopping the destructive brown marmorated stink bug – whose influx some have likened to a plague of locusts – has been a top priority for Wolf.     He held a forum in Purcellville in Loudoun County in April at which scientists and experts shared ideas for control methods with local farmers and growers.   The meeting drew 200 people.

“I’ve seen first-hand the damage that stink bugs are causing to local fruit and vegetable growers and we have to do something to mitigate the economic damage caused by these pests,” said Wolf. “I am hopeful that this legislation will make this problem the top priority for USDA research agencies.”