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The brown marmorated stink bug, one of our newest and most insidious and invasive pests, has a symbiotic relationship with the ailanthus tree according to a recent article in the Staunton News Leader.  Dr. Ames Herbert, an extension entomologist from VA Tech, says

“Heavy infestations seem to be associated with fields with wooded borders, especially if there are concentrations of the invasive weed Tree of Heaven,” Herbert said. “Both are native to China and the (stink bug) seems to be strongly attracted to that host, especially when the trees are putting out their seed clusters. It’s like a happy reunion.”

The highest concentrations of the stink bugs have been found where the invasive plant is also found in high numbers, Herbert noted.

The article does not offer the best advice for getting rid of ailanthus, but it makes an additional case to do so.

If you google “ailanthus eradication”, this blog is ranked #1.  That, and “multiflora rose eradication” are the two biggest reasons people find this blog on their own (over 20,000 hits so far).  So over the next few months I will try to increase the information available on this blog about eradicating these invasive exotics.  VA Tech and Penn State have both done some research on using Verticillium wilt as a natural control of ailanthus, with the main disadvantage being that it also kills mimosa trees.  I will try to post more on that soon.

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