10/02/2012 04:16 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

Stink Bugs Put BC On Alert After Crop-Munchers Appear In US

Flickr: Dendroica cerulea

VICTORIA - The B.C. government is trying to raise a stink about a little bug that could wreak havoc on fruit and vegetable crops.

The province is asking people to be on the lookout for the brown marmorated stink bug, which attacks tree fruits, berries, grapes, vegetables, corn and ornamental plants.

The bug has been found in California, Oregon and Washington state, and while it isn't present in B.C. yet, the province's agriculture ministry is anxious to keep it out.

The ministry says the best way to do that is for travellers not to bring fruits or vegetables into B.C. from the U.S., other countries or other provinces.

The stink bug is native to Asia and was first found in North America in Pennsylvania in 2001, and has since spread across the U.S.

The adult bugs are brown, about 13 to 17 millimetres long, and can be distinguished by distinctive white bands on their antennae and their tendency to cluster in groups.

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