Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eyes open for brown marmorated stink bug

Closeup view of BMSB from the Penn State University.
By all accounts the brown marmorated stink bug smells bad.  On top of that, it's stuck with a tough name. But this new stink bug pest deserves it.

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is native to Asia and was first detected in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 1998. This pest is now well-established in the northeast and has been detected in more than 25 states, including Oregon.

Although most University types are concerned with the BMSB because of its potential impact on agricultural crops like fruit trees, sweet corn, tomatoes, soybeans and ornamentals, this pest has the potential to become another significant structural pest.

But don't start counting your increased revenue stream just yet.  The BMSB is not a satisfying, or easy, pest to control.  It's the same kind of seasonal invader of homes as the boxelder bug, paper wasps or the Asian multicolored lady beetle.  Like these pests, it's attracted to the outside of structures on warm fall days in search of protected overwintering sites. It readily enters buildings where it occasionally reappears in living areas during warmer, sunny periods throughout the winter. It again emerges in the spring. Like these pests, the solution may be more in the line of sealing and caulking the home and vacuuming up the bugs instead of being easily blocked by an insecticide application.

To date, BMSBs have been reported from approximately 33 states, but not from Texas.  This will likely change soon, as they are easily transported in cars, campers and RVs.

Here's where you can help.  If you think you run into an infestation of brown marmorated stink bugs, let me or one of our extension entomologists from around the state know.  You can send specimens or good quality digital images.  If you choose to send a specimen, please follow the directions on this page, and include a completed insect ID form with accurate information about date and location where the specimen was collected.
The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys, right) can be distinguished from the brown (Euschistus servus, left) and bark (Brochymena quadripustulata, center) stink bugs by markings and the white bands at the joints of the antennae.  (Note: These images not necessarily to scale.  The two left photos were taken by Mike Quinn,; and the right image by Melinda Fawver.  Thanks for permission to use.)
The BMSB has some similar relatives that are common in Texas.  The best identification mark is the white band at the joint between the 3rd and 4th (last) antennal segments (see image).  The BMSB also has rounded "shoulders" (corners of the pronotum), and four creamy spots on the pronotum (shield) just behind the head and on the top of the scutellum (triangular shaped plate between the bases of the wings).

1 comment:

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