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Stink Bugs Invade Local Orchard

Catoctin Mountain Orchard is a USDA stink bug research farm. They've placed about 15 stink bug traps throughout the farm.
THURMONT, Md. - A local farmer has a warning for you. Stink bugs are invading his farm and shortly they'll be heading to your home.

Catoctin Mountain Orchard has been in Bob Black's family for 65 years, and they've been selling fruits and vegetables to the Thurmont community.

Black likes seeing crisp apples on his trees and not stink bugs swarming his farm.

"It's very scary," Black said. "This reminds me actually of 2010, when we didn't know what was going on, and we had so much extreme damage. Everyone did."

2011 and 2012 were relatively quiet years for stink bugs on Black's farm, but over the past two weeks, Black's neighbor noticed stink bugs on his soybeans, just feet away from Black's orchard.

"We think we lost some last year from Hurricane Sandy," Black said. "When it came through, it literally destroyed some of the population."

Catoctin Mountain Orchard is a USDA stink bug research farm. They've placed about 15 stink bug traps throughout the farm.

The stink bugs crawl up a base because they're attracted to the scent coming from the collection jar at the top. They'll go into a hole on the bottom of the trap, crawl through a cone, and then the USDA will come once a week to see how many stink bugs are in each trap. Then Black will be able to time out when he should spray.

"None of the sprays we're using are cheap," Black said. "Most are very costly, and every time you go out, whether the spray cost you this time $200 per acre or $100 per acre, you have to do that."

It's not cheap because Black has about 100 acres, and he expects the pests to continue coming out in September.

Black says he'll make sure to spray his apple and peach trees thoroughly. Those are the crops stink bugs have destroyed in the past.

"There will probably still be more coming out from the woods, heading to wherever they can forage, whether it's my apple trees or whether it's my neighbors soybeans," Black said. "They're trying to fill themselves up and be fat so that they can store up enough fat cells for winter because they're heading to your homes, and I mean, all homeowners be aware because they're heading to your home."

Black hopes he won't have to spend too much money spraying the pests to keep them from destroying the farm-fresh food his customers have grown to love.
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