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What butterflies and stink bugs have in common

Wednesday - 8/21/2013, 11:18am  ET

WASHINGTON - You could describe butterflies and stink bugs as the "Beauty and the Beast" of the insect world, on opposite ends of the attractiveness spectrum.

But this year, they have something in common.

Both appear to be doing very well in the Washington metro area.

"This has been just a spectacular year for several different kinds of moths and butterflies," Mike Raupp, University of Maryland entomology professor, told WTOP.

Butterflies are seeing a renaissance. (Courtesy of

"We've had more reports this year about the beautiful Tiger Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails than we've had in a decade," Raupp said.

Interestingly, the reason behind what he calls a "butterfly renaissance" is a mystery.

"We don't know exactly what the cause of this is. It could have been a mild winter. It could be that the plants are just so lush this spring with all the abundant rainfall they've had. Or, perhaps it could be an absence of the natural enemies, the things that normally eat these caterpillars," said Raupp.

For stink bugs 2013 has been a banner year.

"We think that we're going to see about as many stink bugs invading people's homes this autumn as we did in 2010, which really was the breakout year for stink bugs in this area," said Raupp.

"We're really pretty concerned that this is going to be a very, very bad year for stink bugs, in terms of crop damage late in the season in people's vegetable gardens, but also as these stink bugs begin to migrate and seek over-wintering refuge in people's homes," he said.

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