Brown marmorated stink bug
|Brown marmorated stink bug|
Halyomorpha halys, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), or simply the stink bug, is an insect in the family Pentatomidae that is native to China, Japan and Taiwan. It was accidentally introduced into the United States, with the first specimen being collected in September 1998. The brown marmorated stink bug is considered to be an agricultural pest, and by 2010–11 had become a season-long pest in U.S. orchards.
The adults are approximately 1.7 centimetres (0.67 in) long and about as wide, forming the shield shape characteristic of other stink bugs. They are various shades of brown on both the top and undersides, with gray, off-white, black, copper, and bluish markings. Markings unique to this species include alternating light bands on the antennae and alternating dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. The legs are brown with faint white mottling or banding. The stink glands are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs, and on the dorsal surface of the abdomen.
The brown marmorated stink bug is an agricultural pest that can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops. In Japan it is a pest to soybean and fruit crops. In the U.S., the brown marmorated stink bug feeds, beginning in late May or early June, on a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other host plants including peaches, apples, green beans, soybeans, cherries, raspberries, and pears. It is a sucking insect, a "true bug", that uses its proboscis to pierce the host plant in order to feed. This feeding results, in part, in the formation of dimpled or necrotic areas on the outer surface of fruits, leaf stippling, seed loss, and possible transmission of plant pathogens.
The brown marmorated stink bug is more likely to invade homes in the fall than others in the family. The bug survives the winter as an adult by entering houses and structures when autumn evenings become colder, often in the thousands. In one home more than 26,000 stinkbugs were found overwintering. Adults can live from several months to a year. They will enter under siding, into soffits, around window and door frames, chimneys, or any space which has openings big enough to fit through. Once inside the house, they will go into a state of hibernation. They wait for winter to pass, but often the warmth inside the house causes them to become active, and they may fly clumsily around light fixtures. Two important vectors of this pest are landscape ornamentals Tree of Heaven and Princess Tree.
The stink bug's ability to emit an odor through holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds and lizards. However, simply handling the bug, injuring it, or attempting to move it can trigger it to release the odor.
In the United States
The brown marmorated stink bug was accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have hitched a ride as a stowaway in packing crates. The first documented specimen was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in September 1998. Several Muhlenberg College students were reported to have seen these bugs as early as August of that same year.
Other reports have the brown marmorated stink bug recovered as early as 2000 in New Jersey from a black light trap run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Vegetable Integrated Pest Management program in Milford, New Jersey.  In 2002, it was again collected in New Jersey from black light traps located in Phillipsburg and Little York and was found on plant material in Stewartsville. It was quickly documented and established in many counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and New York on the eastern coast of the United States. By 2009, this agricultural pest had reached Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Oregon. In 2010 this pest was found in additional states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and other states. As of November 2011 it has spread to 34 U.S. states and by 2012 to 40 and showed an increase of 60% in total numbers over 2011.
Higher than normal numbers of stink bugs were reported in the eastern half of the United States in 2010. The following are some of the possible reasons for the dramatic population increase:
- Stink bugs typically have four generations per growing season in Asia, and one after transplantation to the U.S., but an unusually warm and early spring and summer in 2010 allowed them to produce two additional generations in regions like Maryland and Northern Virginia.
- The extra generations means that some states are seeing more bugs in more places than in previous seasons. Adults are living longer, depositing eggs longer and maturing more generations to lay even more eggs.
The higher than normal population has caused some of the following environmental problems:
- The insects have started attacking fruit and trees in orchards in southern and eastern Pennsylvania, which had not been seen in previous years.
- Bugs pierce the fruit’s outer surface and suck out juices while injecting saliva. The suction and saliva create a dimpling of the fruit’s surface, and rotting and corking of the flesh underneath.
- The fruit is not salable because of appearance although the dimpled area is not poisonous to humans.
- The bugs attack numerous types of plants—including tomatoes, soy beans, lima beans and sweet corn—but fruit show the damage more quickly and orchard owners monitor for damage more closely. Little is known about what these insects do in the wild.
Control of stink bugs is a priority of the Department of Agriculture which has developed an artificial pheromone which can be used to bait traps. Because the bugs insert their proboscis below the surface of fruit, and then feed, some insecticides are ineffective; in addition, the bugs are mobile, and a new population may fly in after the resident population has been killed. In the case of soybean infestations research shows that spraying only the perimeter of a field may be effective. As of 2012, native predators such as wasps and birds were showing increased signs of feeding on the bugs as they adapt to the new food source.
Similarity in appearance to native species
Easily confused with Brochymena and Euschistus, the best identification for adults is the white band on the antennae. It is similar in appearance to other native species of shield bug including Acrosternum, Euschistus, and Podisus, except that several of the abdominal segments protrude from beneath the wings and are alternatively banded with black and white (visible along the edge of the bug even when wings are folded) and a white stripe or band on the next to last (4th) antennal segment. The adult rice stink bug (Oebalus pugnax) is distinguishable from the brown marmorated stink bug by noting the straw color, the smaller size, and the elongated shape of the rice stink bug.
In China, Trissolcus japonicus, a parasitoid wasp species in the family Scelionidae, is a primary predator. This species is not currently present in the U.S., but is undergoing study for possible introduction. Several other species of the parasitoid wasp have been documented attacking stink bug eggs in a Virginia soybean field.
A species of assassin bug, the wheel bug, native to North America have also been known to feed on stink bugs.
- Stink bug
- Acrosternum hilare, the green stink bug
- Nezara viridula, the southern green stink bug
- Oebalus pugnax, the rice stink bug
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Government and university researchers say they need more time to study the bug, which has been in the United States since about 1998. Native to Asia, it was first found in Allentown, Pa., and has no natural enemies here.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Halyomorpha halys.|
- Wikibooks: Halyomorpha halys
- Stink bug fact sheet Penn State Fact Sheet on the brown marmorated stink bug
- brown marmorated stink bug on the UF/IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
- Brown marmorated stink bug in Oregon
- brown marmorated stink bug at Invasive.org a joint project of The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service and USDA APHIS PPQ
- Species Profile- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), National Invasive Species Information Center, United States National Agricultural Library. Lists general information and resources for brown marmorated stink bug.