SPOKANE, Wash. -

The population of stink bugs is increasing dramatically in Washington state.

That has scientists scrambling to limit the number of marmorated stink bugs.

This fall, the agricultural pest has turned up in significantly larger numbers in traps and inside people's homes in 19 counties.

Washington State University researcher Elizabeth Beers says its obvious stink bugs are expanding in population and range.

The shield-shaped bug from Asia gorges on everything from apples and lima beans to flowering dogwoods. It was discovered in Pennsylvania almost two decades ago and has moved westward.

In recent weeks, researchers have captured hundreds of the bugs in traps, mostly in Yakima and Walla Walla.

Stink bugs emit the smell of dirty socks when crushed.