The U.S. Department of Agriculture is committing $5.7 million to find non-chemical means to control stink bugs, the brown pests from Asia that wreck fruit and vegetable crops and invade homes when the weather cools.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., announced the grant Friday, saying more successful and less expensive remedies than pesticides are needed to help farmers combat the brown marmorated stink bug.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved requests to use the insecticide dinotefuran on tree fruit, and Bartlett said such "stopgap" methods seem to have helped reduce crop damage but greatly increased growers' costs.

tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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