Pest threatens crops on Hudson Valley farms

Posted: Updated:
PINE ISLAND -

An exotic species of insect is threatening crops in the Hudson Valley.

The crop-eating allium leafminer is from Europe. Experts say the bug, which thrives on vegetables like onions, garlic and leeks, was first found in the U.S. two years ago in Pennsylvania. Since then, it’s infested the Northeast destroying crops. It’s also made its way to the Hudson Valley.

"First I've seen it in my fields ever was a few weeks ago. I thought it was a mini-termite,” says fourth generation black dirt onion farmer Chris Pavelski, of Pine Island.

Ethan Grundbert, of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, says if the population continues to build like it has in Pennsylvania, it could be a serious issue Hudson Valley farmers are faced with the next few years.

News 12 has learned that the bugs die off in the summer months but reappear in the fall.

Currently, pesticides are still being tested.

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