WASHINGTON — It looked as if one of the beneficiaries of the government shutdown was going to be the nation's most wanted bug. We're talking about a nasty insect here. Call it Notorious B.U.G.

Some folks had bemoaned the fate of the Agriculture Department's "Great Stink Bug Count," a citizen-led census of the pesky brown bugs that was thrown into question because of the shuttered government. The count, which began last month and ends Tuesday, is aimed at fighting the brown marmorated stink bug, which the USDA this year named its "top invasive insect of interest."

That's the entomological equivalent of the top of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Those dastardly little red-eyed scourges have gnawed through crops across the Mid-Atlantic region — and they have few natural predators.

The project called on participants to conduct a daily count of the pests they spotted on the exteriors of their homes and to submit the information online. "By the end of October, scientists expect to have the raw numbers they will need to start compiling data," our Washington Post colleague Darryl Fears reported last month. "They plan to analyze the colors of homes, their sizes, location, elevation and surrounding vegetation to see what attracts the bugs."

But then came the shutdown. Websites went down. Researchers were furloughed. The horror was that the bugs were going unchecked.

But never fear. We're told that the participants in the project — more than 300 people, from middle-school students to music professors — were already keeping records before the shutdown, and that the USDA's university partners have stepped in to collect them after the government had to go dark.

Eventually, there will be a pile of data for the government researchers.

The government took pains to keep national security functions going. But the war on stink bugs? Good thing we're not losing our edge there, either.