|This picture of BMSB was taken in Dallas |
County in 2017 by Annika Linkqvist and
posted on iNaturalist. Note the white bands on
Now the BMSB may be making a new home in Texas. According to EDDMaps distribution records, this stink bug has now been confirmed in four Texas counties. Two sightings were recorded last summer in Dallas County by the same observer, and one in Collin County in 2015. It has also been seen in Harris and Ft. Bend counties in the Houston area. To our knowledge there have been no reports of buildings being invaded or plant damage.
I live in Collin County and have yet to see a BMSB; but that doesn't mean they're not here, slowly reproducing and hiding out until they make their grand entrance. When they do, chances are that a pest control company will be the first to know.
I first posted about this pest 7 years ago, before any sightings in the Houston or Dallas area. Given these recent reports, I think its time to renew the call to vigilance.
IdentificationSo how do you identify BMSB? First, it is a stink bug (family Pentatomidae), all of which have flattened, shield-like bodies with a triangular plate in the middle separating the bases of the two wings. The BMSB is brown, about 17 mm-long (2/3 inch), and may produce a musty scent when disturbed. Several other stinkbugs look similar to BMSB. Identify by looking for three characters: First is the white band at the joint between the 3rd and 4th (last) antennal segments (see image). Second is the shoulders: the BMSB also has rounded shoulder angles (corners of the pronotum at the widest part of the body) compared to other stink bugs with pointed shoulder angles or jagged teeth above the shoulder. Last, there are 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).
What to doIf you think you've run into an infestation of brown marmorated stink bugs, let me or one of our extension entomologists from around the state know. To confirm, we will need 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.
We are especially interested if the bugs are damaging fruit (fruit, corn, grapes, tomatoes, beans) or coming to lights and invading homes in large numbers. If you have a good picture and want to report an infestation, you can also report to our national EDDMaps database at http://www.eddmaps.org/bmsb/report/.
This insect has the potential to become a major headache for households and businesses, as well as farmers. It reminds me of my latest proverb: "If you crave job security in your career, go into highway construction or pest control." Just as there will always be highways being repaired, there will always be new pests to battle. Brown marmorated stink bug is a good example.