Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Residents sought to help in stink bug study

KEARNEYSVILLE - As fall approaches and the weather cools, the omnipresent brown marmorated stink bug will begin looking for a nice, cozy place to stay.  So researchers at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Jefferson County are asking the public to help them figure out why the bugs choose some houses over others.
Tracy Leskey, entomologist at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station, said researchers have learned a lot about the bug's behavior over the past 15 years.  "We've identified the pheromone of brown marmorated stink bug, and so we're now using this in traps to monitor their activity throughout the season," Leskey said.  "And we're hoping in the future to use that pheromone to develop attract and kill strategies where we attract and aggregate the stink bugs to particular locations and we can annihilate them there."
Leskey is looking for volunteers willing to count the number of stink bugs on their house every day between Sept 15 and Oct 15.  These citizen scientists will get a form to fill out that includes their name and address, a description of the house and surrounding vegetation and rough drawing of where the house is located.  Leskey is primarily looking for volunteers from eastern West Virginia and the surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland, but anyone anywhere willing to count the stink bugs on their house for a month is welcome to participate.
Volunteers can contact Leskey at tracy.leskey@ars.usda.gov or Doo-Hyung Lee or Torri Hancock at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station at 304-725-3451.

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