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Stink bugs

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Overview

Several species of stink bugs feed on apples in New England, but the brown stink bug (Euschistus servus) may be the most common. Brown stink bugs look very similar to the invasive species, brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). BMSB is already causing problems in some locations in New England. For more information on this pest, see the BMSB section of this guide. For updates, see https://www.stopbmsb.org.

 

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 hand lens. 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

    Biology

    • In New England, stink bugs spend the winter as adults, hiding under stones, boards, ground cover, and weeds. In springtime, the adults become active. As the adults come out of their overwintering sites, they feed on the plants that are available.
    • 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 the fruit to abort, and feeding later in the summer can cause a deep cat-facing 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 pyramid 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 is a very mobile pest and may reinfest treated areas quickly. If repeat applications are necessary, rotate active ingredients to avoid promoting resistance in local populations.