Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys or BMSB) adults are shield shaped and about dime-sized. They are a mottled tan, with two white bands on their antennae, rounded shoulders, and alternating dark and light bands around the perimeter of their abdomen. Eggs are light green and elliptical, with tiny spines in a ring around the tip of the egg; once nymphs hatch, the eggs are white with a black triangle where the nymphs emerged. Freshly emerged nymphs are black with orange abdomens and a black pattern in the center of the back; as they grow they become darker with small orange patterns, and the oldest instars closely resemble adults only without the wings. Older nymphs have spines, which are not present on the adult. Nymphs tend to feed on leaves and stems of plants, while adults feed on fruit and seeds in addition to leaves and stems. This causes stippling on leaves, dead spots on fruit and offers an invasion pathway for pathogens. In fruits like apples, the damage creates a characteristic pattern called “cat facing”, which renders the fruit unmarketable as a fresh product.
Eggs are laid in late spring and summer; nymphs grow to adulthood in the fall, and find overwintering sites in structures or standing dead trees. Adults emerge in mid-spring to feed on a host list that includes many economically important species.
The brown marmorated stink bug is a voracious pest that was unintentionally introduced to the northeastern US in the 1990s. It quickly became a major agricultural pest and continues to spread throughout the US. BMSB congregate in structures in the winter, sometimes in very large numbers, making them a nuisance pest as well.
BMSB feeds on a long list of crops—including apples, pears, peaches, corn, soybeans, cherries, grapes, tomatoes and peppers. Brown marmorated stink bug damage destroys some crops and renders others marketable only for processing. In 2010 it was estimated that the Mid-Atlantic apple industry lost $37 million to BMSB injury.
BMSB is so widespread that eradication is not an option. However, scientists and researchers across the country are working to come up with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions to help control this pest and reduce its impacts. Learn more about managing BMSB using IPM, and how you can help reduce its impacts at www.stopbmsb.org.
BMSB is capable of dispersing over large distances by stowing away in shipping containers and cars or by hitching a ride on a variety of materials. Locally, BMSB is a highly mobile pest that easily moves to new hosts over the season. Adults are capable of flying long distances and invade homes and buildings to avoid unfavorable winter conditions.
BMSB feeds on over 170 species of plants including many fruit and vegetable crops, ornamentals and common landscape trees and shrubs, even weeds! Economically important hosts include apple, tomato, field and sweet corn, peppers, peaches, cherries, grapes and soybeans. BMSB will likely feed on most fruiting vegetables grown in home gardens.