DETROIT, May 18 (UPI) -- An invasive insect from Asia first spotted in Michigan two years ago could pose a major threat this year to fruit growers, officials say.
The brown marmorated stink bug was reported in 12 counties last year, The Detroit News reported Saturday. While it has not yet been seen in Macomb County, just north of Detroit, growers there are apprehensive.
Paul Blake grows strawberries, peaches, cherries and apples on 700 acres -- and knows the bug was seen last year in neighboring counties.
"We haven't seen it on our farm yet and we are hoping that we don't; however, we are very aware of the stink bugs," Blake told the News. "We have certified scouts coming out once a week who check all of our orchards with magnifying glasses and we set traps so we can be aware of something out in the orchard that shouldn't be there."
Matthew Grieshop, assistant professor of entomology at Michigan State University, said the state is in the "early invasion" stage with the bug. He expects the stink bugs, which have eclectic eating habits and few natural predators in Michigan, will be a major problem statewide within three or four years.