Get Ready for the Stink Bug Plague!

Looking for something to loathe? How about the brown marmorated stink bug? Last year, this species invaded the Mid-Atlantic states and caused millions of dollars of damage to our fruit and veggie crops. This year they're poised to do even more damage.

First spotted in Pennsylvania in 1998, brown marmorated stink bugs have increased their ranks at a somewhat furious rate. Without any natural predators here in the U.S. to eat them all up, they can mate, reproduce, and invade new states without a care in the world. And so they have: This year they've been showing up in North Carolina, and because warm weather seems to arouse them, their ranks are expected to swell the more time they spend down south. As one researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns, "If they get to Florida, it could be like the atomic bomb going off."

Besides eating all of America's food, brown marmorated stink bugs also work up a stench when you upset them (or squish them), and, once they show up at your house, won't ever leave. In many ways they're just like your horrid Aunt Mary, who mercifully shows up only once a year, for the holidays, with her stocking full of dusty canned goods just for you, eats up your fruit bowl and all the apple pieces in the festive sangria punch, spritzes her latest Designer Imposter scent all over the family dog, then falls into a turkey coma until the wee hours of the following morning.

[Washington Post, NYT, Image via AP]