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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)

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Halyomorpha halys
Written by: 
Jaime Pinero and Elizabeth Garofalo

Overview

BMSB is an invasive stink bug that feeds on a wide variety of host plants, including a variety of fruits (e.g., apples, stone fruits including peaches and apricots, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits and persimmons), vegetables (e.g., beans, corn, tomatoes and soybeans) and many ornamental plants and weeds. BMSB is currently distributed in 43 US states and 4 Canadian provinces.

BMSB is considered to be a landscape-level threat. This means that adults frequently switch between cropped land (agronomic crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals) and wooded habitats. BMSB nymphs and adults feed by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into fruit, nuts, seed pods, buds, leaves, and stems and appear to prefer plants bearing reproductive structures. Their mouthparts can penetrate very hard and thick tissue, such as the hazelnut hull.

Biology

During the winter months, BMSB enters a type of hibernation called diapause. During this time adults do not feed and do not reproduce. Overwintering takes place in forested areas as well as inside houses and other buildings. In the spring, BMSB adults emerge from overwintering sites (houses, barns, storage buildings, and dead trees) and become active on nearby crops during warm sunny days. In the spring and throughout the summer, adults feed, mate, and lay eggs.

Monitoring

Commercially available traps and pheromone lures for BMSB monitoring provide valuable information on the presence/absence of BMSB and also help to decide if insecticide treatments are needed to manage this pest. Ag-Bio, Inc. (http://www.agbio-inc.com), Great Lakes IPM (http://www.greatlakesipm.com), Trece, Inc. (http://www.trece.com) and Sterling International are some of the companies that sell monitoring systems for BMSB. Monitoring for BMSB can start in late-May and needs to continue until early- or mid-October.

Monitoring devices.

  • Black pyramid traps. Stink bugs, including BMSB, are visually attracted to tree silhouettes. The trap recommended for monitoring is a black pyramidal trap, which represents trunk mimic, coupled with a capturing device.
  • Double-sided clear sticky cards. Researchers have found that double-sided clear sticky cards (6 x 12 inches), attached to a wooden pole, can be used for monitoring purposes. Cards are easier (and cheaper) to deploy than black pyramid traps.

Pheromone lures: Various companies are now marketing the male-produced aggregation pheromone of BMSB. Some pheromone lures incorporate the pheromone of multiple stink bug species, including BMSB. Therefore, efforts need to be made to correctly distinguish BMSB from other similarly-looking stink bugs.

Thresholds. Insecticide applications to apple orchards are recommended when a cumulative threshold of 10 BMSB/trap is reached. After the spray, the threshold is reset and subsequent trap accumulations reaching 10 adults per trap will trigger successive management sprays as the season progresses. This threshold is likely to work in peach orchards as well.

Management

Insecticide sprays is the most effective control method for BMSB. It is important to select effective insecticides given that adult BMSB are hard to kill. Whenever possible, target the nymph stage, as nymphs are more sensitive to insecticides than adults. Multiple applications may be needed with re-infestation.

The overwintering generation of BMSB tends to be more susceptible to insecticides than the summer generation. Therefore, products with the best effectiveness against this pest should be used later in the season.

Insecticides should be rotated among products in different classes with different modes of action to delay the onset of resistance to pesticides.