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There are many things that farmers have to worry about. Some farmers worry about a lack of rain. Others worry about pests that eat the crops. Farmers in the UK have a new pest to worry about - stink bugs. For the first time, stink bugs have arrived in the UK and they are causing farmers trouble. The stink bugs came from either China, Japan or Korea. They are not native to the UK. The smelly insects are now posing a threat to fruit and vegetable crops in the south of England. The insects get their name from the bad smell they create when they feel they are in danger. Stink bugs were accidentally introduced to the USA in the mid-1990s and are now a problem for farmers in 44 states.
Stink bugs feed by piercing the surface of fruits and vegetables and then sucking out the juice. This makes the fruit rotten where the insects pierce the skin. It means farmers cannot sell the crops. The fruit quite often ends up as juice. Max Barclay, an insect expert, said there is no risk to human health from the insects feeding on fruit and vegetables. He said: "If you eat a damaged fruit, there's no risk to your health. The fruit just doesn't look beautiful, so the sale value is reduced." He said the species has a wide diet and can eat over one hundred different types of plants. He added that: "With climate change and global trade, these stories are going to become more frequent."Comprehension questions
- What do some farmers worry about a lack of?
- Which three countries might the stink bugs have come from?
- When do stink bugs release their smell?
- When were stink bugs introduced into the USA?
- In how many U.S. states are stink bugs posing a problem?
- What do stink bugs pierce when they feed?
- How much risk to human health did an insect expert say there was?
- What did the insect expert say is reduced if a stink bug eats fruit?
- How many types of plants can stink bugs eat?
- What might make these stories more frequent besides climate change?
Back to the stink bugs lesson.