Grape growers in New York have been told to be on the lookout for two new pests—the brown marmorated stink bug and the spotted wing drosophila.
Although scientists know both insects will feed on grapes, how much damage they'll do to the state's grape crop is yet unknown, according to a news release.
At the recent 60th annual Finger Lakes Grape Growers' Conference in Waterloo, N.Y., growers learned about the two pests and how to differentiate them from other similar insects.
"The better informed growers are—recognizing what these insects look like, their pest potential and possible control measures—the better they will be able to make sound pest management decisions," Cornell University entomology professor Greg Loeb said in the release.
The brown marmorated stink bug—a native of Asia—was first confirmed in the United States in 1997 in Allentown, N.Y. Until last year, it caused little if any damage.
During the 2010 season, growers in the mid-Atlantic states reported severe damage to a multitude of crops, including apples, stone fruit, squash and even corn and soybeans.
Since it's first U.S. confirmation in California in 2008,the spotted wing drosophila has spread and has been found in Kentucky, Michigan, Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Florida and British Columbia.
The spotted wing drosophila, known scientifically as Drosophila suzukii, has yet to be confirmed in New York.
A native of Japan and China, it favors average temperatures of about 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and activity falls off if temperatures rise above 86 degrees.
Unlike the common Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly that favors rotting fruit on which to lay eggs, spotted wing drosophila females prefer fruit just reaching maturity.