Karen Bernhard to Present Semester’s Last Biocolloquium

A brown marmorated stink bug crawling on a leaf. Photo Credit / Nick Sloff
A brown marmorated stink bug crawling on a leaf. Photo Credit / Nick Sloff
A brown marmorated stink bug crawling on a leaf.
Photo Credit / Nick Sloff

By Zachary Gotthardt
SC Staff Writer

Tomorrow, on November 21, the final Biocolloquium of the semester will take place in Kurtz Lecture Hall at 4:00 PM.

Karen Bernhard of the Penn State Extension of the Lehigh County Agricultural Center will present her work on stink bugs, entitled “Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Update for Growers.”

Bernhard works with Penn State at the College of Agricultural Sciences as an expert in horticulture.

Horticulture is the practice of basic garden cultivation and management, a common hobby and career for many citizens of Pennsylvania.

Many horticulturists seek to develop new and improved ways to harvest crops for food, medicine, and decoration. One of the many factors that must be considered is the presence of pests, such as brown marmorated stink bugs.

The focus of Bernhard’s research is managing this destructive insect.

The stink bug is an archetypical example of an invasive species, and is very common in Pennsylvania. The first sighting in eastern Pennsylvania was in 1998, although it presumably arrived earlier.

Today, it is documented in 37 Pennsylvania counties and several dozen other states across the nation. The stink bug originates in Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, and was introduced to the United States accidentally.

Recently, the stink bug has become a major pest to agriculture, targeting food crops across Pennsylvania.

With no natural predators in the United States, the stink bug is free to reproduce uninhibited. Furthermore, stink bugs are able to survive the cold winters by invading our homes.

The stink bug is named for its natural defense of spraying a foul odor when threatened. This scent makes it very unappealing to any potential predators.

While it is only considered an agricultural pest in Pennsylvania, the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences predicts that the brown marmorated stink bug will become a pest in other states in the near future if not adequately managed.

In the United States, about $1 billion is spent annually to control the effects of pests. At the same time, invasive pests cause an estimated $97 billion in damages to crops and property.

At the Biocolloquium, Bernhard will talk about some methods, both professional and personal, that can be implemented to stop the spread of this pest.

The Biocolloquium will take place in Kurtz Lecture Hall of the Moore Biology Building at 4:00 PM tomorrow.

Refreshments will be provided.

Following the presentation, Bernhard will be available to answer questions on a more personal level.

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