MARYLAND

Stinkbugs swarm region, USDA unable to help due to shutdown

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(WJLA) - Just off Old Leetown Pike in Ranson, W. Va., countless unwelcome guests have invaded resident Ronnie Kern’s home.

"They've taken over! What do you do with them?" he asks.

Area residents are finding stinkbugs under tarps, in their grills, and swarming in cars.

Stinkbugs -- responsible for damaging millions of dollars in fall crops -- are now on the move, searching for winter shelter.

"And if you touch them, everything you touch stinks. And everything they get in stinks," says Kern.

And at Hillside Gas Station, Maryland resident Henry Francis says, "They're a pain in the neck and they seem to be coming from some place in hell."

Horror stories abound.

"I was driving down the road one day, and I had one walking across the brim of my sunglasses. It's enough to cause a wreck, you know," said Maryland resident Tim James.

And they can thank the government shutdown for helping the resilient bug thrive, since U.S. Department of Agriculture employees are furloughed.  They're currently unable to research better ways to track, understand, and eradicate stink bugs, as their work during a critical data collection period is on hold.

"That's kinda messed up because we need to get rid of them -- we need to get them under control because they must multiply by the millions."

It’s unsettling to Ronnie Kern that dysfunction in Washington has reached his driveway in West Virginia.

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