Alpár Kató | Dec 8, 2018 | 2
A huge wave of stink bugs is about to hit Hungary
As of now, stink bugs came out only in the evenings, when the lights are turned on, but 24.hu reports that more and more of them are appearing in Hungary. The invasive, alien stink bugs are spreading in the country in ever-growing numbers, and they are unstoppable.
In recent years, one could encounter stink bugs in the fall season, when the bugs were looking for refuge in houses and flats from the cold winter. There is one kind that is causing a lot of headaches, the marmorated stink bug. The big, brown bug is native to Asia, buzzes loudly when flying, and if you happen to catch it, it will release a stinking excretion.
This is only the beginning
Thanks to the climate change, environmental pollution and the invasive species, the current states that we define as ‘extremities’, will become soon regular. This is the case in the fight against the stink bugs. The invasive insects are ahead of their schedule: they are flying into homes already in August, off-season.
At this time, they are not looking for corners where they’d be protected from the cold, but they are rather attracted to artificial light after sundown. The refuge-seeking wave begins with the first fall cold, as it was in the recent years. However, instead of the huge stink bug wave of October, we get a dose of them in August.
If you notice that there is an accumulated number of stink bugs present in your area, you might expect an even bigger wave of stink bugs there, as the population has grown. So says the expert, Dr. Gábor Vétek, who is an adjunct professor at the Department of Entomology at Szent István University’s Faculty of Horticultural Science.
A hard fight
Note that the previous was an assumption, as there is a lack of scientific analysis into the living habits of the Asian marmorated stink bug in Hungary. It is hard to tell exactly in what measure will the stink bugs ‘invade’ the country.
The fully grown insect lives a long life, so in some seasons it is impossible to tell which generation a respective bug belongs to. Their life spans are affected by the weather and the region’s climate. In Italy, in one year even two generations can come to life, but in Switzerland only one. Unfortunately, we might fall into the previous category, but the research is still ongoing to provide facts.
The stink bug can spread into several territories over the years, as it does not differentiate between food plants.
Aside from the locally ‘born’ bugs, we have to take into consideration those that are imported by humans regularly, though not on purpose.
Good news is that at the Faculty of Horticultural Science at Szent István University, the data gathering on the marmorated stink bug has begun.
It’s only a question of time
The bad news is, however, that the bug will not disappear from Hungary, and its number will not decrease, in fact, it will spread into larger territories – says Gábor Vétek.
Their number will change over the next years compared to the previous situation. It is highly probable that there will be a sudden increase, as the mild winters and summery falls are beneficial for them. There is no impediment on the bugs’ reproduction and spread, and with the international trade, new waves may arrive.
Stink bugs can travel easily between great distances either by flying or by foot, and by hopping on cargo, it only takes hours for it to get to another city. As far as it is known, this phenomenon is most prominent on the Budapest-Kecskemét line, but it will appear everywhere.
Huge agricultural damages
There are two stink bugs that are harmful in Hungary and are impossible to get rid of.
The first is the Asian marmorated stink bug, which was brought to the US and Europe on international commercial cargos. It is known in Hungary since 2013 as the ‘big brown stink bug’.
There is another one, the ‘big green stink bug’, which is usually referred to as a traveller bug. It is native to East-Africa and Southern Europe and first appeared in Hungary in the early 2000’s, mostly because of the climate change.
Both insects feed on the juice of plants, damaging vegetables, plow-land plants. On top of this, the marmorated stink bug causes terrible damages in orchards all over the world.
Stink bugs are especially keen on plants that ripen in the second half of summer or during fall, such as tomatoes, peppers, bean, soy, corn, apple, pear, peach. It is hard to fight them off, as using pesticides on almost ripe vegetables and fruits are harmful to humans.
The biggest problem is that those products that could curb their activities and numbers, kill those insects that are actually useful. This way, the usage of these pesticides gives reason to worry from the point of view of both agriculture and environment protection.