Stinky situation for Southwest Michigan farmers

The Brown Marmorated stink bug was spotted earlier this year by a Lake Michigan College student in Berrien County. It’s only the second confirmed case in the state but if it spreads it could be devistating for fruit farmers.

In numbers, the bug is known to eat many types of fruits and vegetables, although apples and peaches are most vulnerable.

Jay Jollay of Jollay Orchards is a 7th generation fruit farmer in Coloma. Apples and peaches are two of his most important crops. There’ve always been stink bugs on his land. He says they're not harmful, “Usually they aren’t a huge problem for the crops but with this new strand of stink bug we’re talking about, it could potentially be harmful to the crops.”

The stink bug is native to Asia and first made it’s way to the United States in 1998. It’s just beginning to migrate to midwestern states.

In the summer of 2010 it was estimated that the Brown Marmorated stink bugs decimated 10% of the apple crop. What makes matters worse is there isn't an effective pesticide available by the USDA to combat the pest.

Jollay is glad he hasn’t seen any on his crops. He says if it were here, “Of course it would be devastating from a dollar standpoint and what does it do to the tree for next year’s crop?"

Share this article: