Language to prioritize research on ways to combat stink bugs is included in two annual spending bills moving through Congress, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).
Wolf said there is a provision in the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill directing the four United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research agencies to identify and develop effective stink bug control methods.
Additional language instructs the USDA to work collaboratively with state partners to identify and implement controls for the stink bug invasion. A corresponding provision is in the fiscal year 2013 Interior Appropriations bill directing the Environmental Protection Agency to fast-track the approval of any identified control methods.
Both spending bills have been approved by the full House Appropriations Committee and are currently awaiting action on the floor.
Wolf, who had similar language in last year's funding bill, is pushing the Obama Administration to act as efforts to control this bug are proving to be exceedingly difficult -- the infestation has spread to over 30 states as diverse as Virginia, Georgia, Idaho and Oregon. Wolf said the fiscal year 2013 language directs USDA to put a particular focus on defending the mid-Atlantic apple crop.
"I have seen the damage stink bugs can cause to fruit and vegetable crops," Wolf said. "We have to do something to mitigate the economic damage caused by these pests. I am hopeful that this targeted focus on stink bug research will bring about a solution."