Photo courtesy of Rutgers University
Photo courtesy of Rutgers University

Texas A&M officials are working to raise awareness for the brown marmorated stink bug, a pest that has infested Eastern and Mid-Atlantic orchards, fields and homes but hasn't yet become established in Texas.

Only one has been found in the Lone Star State, and that was by a Coprpus Christi pest control operator in November, according to a news release.

As a result, Texas AgriLife Extension is targeting pest control operators and the landscape industry, because the pest is more likely to show up in areas served those industries first than in agricultural fields.

That's because the insect has proved to be a good hitchhiker.

Based on experiences in the Northeast, Extension entomologist Charles Allen, who's based in San Antonio, said the state's pecan industry could feel the bug's impact.

In addition, the winegrape industry could feel a one-two punch.

Not only does the stink bug suck sap from the plant, but a few stink bugs can taint an entire vat of wine.

Texas AgriLife officials are asking that anyone finding a suspected brown marmorated stink bug send it in for identification.

Samples should include the name and contact information of the sender, the location the bug was found, and the plant or place where it was found.

Specimens, preferably dead, should be put in something like a pill bottle and sent to Kira Metz, Minnie Belle Heep Building 216D, 2475 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2475.

The specimens could also be sent to any AgriLife Extension agent, but those will also be confirmed by Metz.