Hate those stinkbugs, the weirdly armoured critters that cling to your lampshades and windowsills?
A West Virginia Wesleyan professor might take them off your hands.
The marmorated stinkbug is more than just a pesky house insect. They destroy crops and cause severe economic damage across Mid-Atlantic states.
Dr. Jeanne Sullivan, an associate professor and chairwoman of the biology department at West Virginia Wesleyan College, is soliciting them for her research.
The mobile bug, which is thought to have stowed away in a shipment from Asia in the 1990s and landed near Allentown, Pa., moves between crops and wild hosts, increasing the use of insecticide, which has both economic and environmental costs.
"Coping with stinkbugs is economically important to growers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and surrounding states," Sullivan said.
"Stinkbugs feed on trees and other fruit, damaging the fruit and making it unsellable as fresh fruit. And stinkbugs also feed on many other crops, including sweet corn, soybeans and home-garden favorites such as tomatoes."
Although she has about 1,500 specimens in her lab, she will need a few thousand males and females to complete her research.
To donate live stinkbugs for research, contact Sullivan at Sulli...@wvwc.edu.
The post office accepts small, nonpoisonous insects as live animals that can be mailed.
That might be more trouble than squashing or flushing them, however.
The stinkbugs need to be in an air-filled container, like an inflated plastic zipper bag or plastic food container at least three or four times the volume of the enclosed bugs. A damp paper towel should be placed inside.
The container should then go in a shipping box with cushioning so the bugs aren't tossed about. Stinkbugs can be mailed to Sullivan at West Virginia Wesleyan College, 59 College Ave., Buckhannon, WV 26201.
While they are annoying to homeowners, they're not particularly hazardous. However, their multiplication and proclivity for feeding on crops is causing concern.
Sullivan received a one-year, $7,000 grant to study the effects of sub-lethal exposure to insecticides on mobility, feeding and reproduction in the brown marmorated stinkbug, or Halyomorpha halys.
The State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania grant will help Sullivan determine how long after being sprayed on a crop that an insecticide can still incapacitate, either by killing the stinkbugs or keeping them from reproducing.
"The problem is they're multiplying," she said. "A grower doesn't want to spray insecticide unless they need to. It's not cost-effective.