Md. Rep. Says Stinkbugs Threat of “Biblical proportions”

Scientists pushing for use of unapproved insecticide

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork

    There are lots of catastrophic events occurring in the world right now. Earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, multiple wars. But one Maryland representative says it is stinkbugs that pose the threat of historic proportions.

    “I knew this invasive stink bug poses a threat of biblical proportions to America’s farmers and our agriculture,” Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (D-Md.) said during a meeting this week with Maryland Farmers and Growers in Emmitsburg.

    “This bug has spread to 29 states. It will eat nearly every type of farm produce and nursery stock. Thus far we can’t control it,” Congressman Bartlett said. “It is crucial that we educate Americans about the need for the research that is being conducted by USDA and their academic and other private sector partners to provide our farmers and growers with effective ways to protect their crops.”

    The congressman organized the town hall of more than 100 farmers to discuss efforts to curb crop damage. One solution being put forth by the U.S. Agriculture Department and Virginia Tech is to use an insecticide currently not approved for use in orchards.

    Virginia Tech entomologist Chris Bergh said at the meeting that he would submit a petition to the EPA to grant an emergency exemption for the use of dinotefuran. The compound is currently only approved for use on vegetables, grapes and cotton. The exemption would allow the chemical to be used on apples and peaches in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.