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Stink bugs

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Overview

Several species of stink bugs feed on apples in New England, but brown stink bug may be the most common. Brown stink bugs look very similar to the newly invasive species, brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Stink bugs' long piercing-sucking mouthparts make deep punctures that create corky flesh under the surface. The puncture is difficult to see, even with a handlens. Each puncture may be surrounded by a small greenish area that is slightly sunken. This injury should not be confused with cork spot, which usually occurs around the calyx end.

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSM) are causing problems in some locations in New England. For latest information about BMSB see http://blogs.cornell.edu/jentsch/bmsb-resources/

Biology

  • Native stink bugs overwinter as eggs, whereas BMSB overwinter as adults in structures.
  • Stink bug nymphs and adults can begin feeding on apple flowers and continue through harvest. Native stink bugs tend to be late summer pests, but can be found throughout the fruiting season.
  • Adult feeding during bloom can cause fruit to abort, and feeding later in the summer can cause a deep catfacing injury such as that caused by TPB, or depressed, dimpled, corky, or water-soaked areas on fruit skin.

Monitoring

  • Examine developing fruit for stink bug damage and live insects.
  • BMSB can be monitored with baited, black pyramide traps.

Management

  • Eliminating broadleaf weeds, especially legumes, will contribute to managing stink bugs.
  • Do not allow ground covers to grow under tree canopies.
  • Many insecticides are ineffective at controlling stink bug populations. Apply effective insecticide at first signs of infestation. BMSB are very mobile pests and may reinfest treated area quickly. If repeat applications are necessary, rotate active ingredients to avoid promoting resistance in local populations.