Vineyards Beware the Dreaded Stink Bugs!

As most of you that live in the Mid-Atlantic region are aware, the last several years we have witnessed the invasion of a pest from Asia known as the Brown Marmorated Stink bug, or BMSB. Last season I did not see any in the vineyard, other than a few of the indigenous variety in small numbers. This year the story is different. I am finding Stink Bugs in increasing numbers of all ages and sizes all over the vineyard, on the leaves, on the grapes and inside the clusters.

Last year the bugs lived in the forests and didn’t swarm into “our” world until the first cool nights of fall, which was mid-September for us.  So they were not an issue for us late in the season or at harvest, given we harvested on Aug 11 and Sept 1.  My concern this year is now that they are already in the vineyard, once we get ripening fruit (which is already beginning) they will puncture the fruit, the sweet juices will drip amongst the clusters and we will risk getting a disease called botrytis, or bunch rot.  A great deal of research is ongoing by major institutions and government bodies on how to address this rapidly increasing agricultural problem.  This might be the year that an insecticide finds its way into our vineyard before we risk losing our crop to this dreaded pest.  Stay tuned.

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