Contact: Maryland Home and Garden Information Center | 410-531-5556 | http://extension.umd.edu/hgic
ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 1, 2008) – Unfortunately, being stinky is not the only claim to fame for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an Asian pest that was recently discovered in the Northeast United States. Because this new exotic insect has the potential to damage many agricultural crops and ornamentals, it earned “Invader of the Month” status for June, 2005. As it is now the season for this insect to become noticeable on and in homes, it has been selected as the Invader of the Month for October 2008.
This stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) was first confirmed in 2001 in Pennsylvania and it has since been found in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oregon, and Maryland; the list will continue to grow as natural and human-aided movement occurs.
Brown marmorated stink bugs overwinter as adults in protected places and may seek shelter in houses (much like boxelder bugs and ladybird beetles). If disturbed or crushed, they emit a typical fruity, stinkbug odor that adds “insult to invasion.” State officials are concerned that this insect may shift from buildings and backyards to agricultural settings and cause economic losses on crops, including many fruits, ornamental plants, and soybeans, as it has in its native lands.
In the spring, adults become active and lay eggs on vegetation. Nymphs emerge and feed through the growing season, finally developing into the adult stage by autumn. Adult stink bugs are about 5/8 inch long, grey – brown mottled in color with alternating dark and light bands on the antennae and legs. Larger nymphs lack wings but are otherwise similar in appearance.
BMSB now has been confirmed throughout much of Maryland as a home invading nuisance pest, so the MDA is not seeking further reports. This insect can be mechanically excluded from homes by applying the same techniques used for ladybugs, boxelder bugs, western seed bugs, crickets, and other harmless unwelcomed visitors. Visit the Maryland Home and Garden Information Center, http://extension.umd.edu/hgic, for control tips, and to report observations of fruit or ornamental feeding by BMSB. Feeding typically causes damage like leaf stippling, and small dead areas and catfacing on fruit.
For more information about BMSB and other Invasive Species of Concern, visit www.mdinvasives.org
Rutgers University BMSB Websitephotos available electronically on request.