Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Identified in Utah
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013
Contact: Diane Alston
USU Extension entomologist
Writer: Dennis Hinkamp
USU Extension Communications
BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG IDENTIFIED IN UTAH
A new bug with a whimsical name may annoy homeowners and threaten fruit crops this year. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which had to be removed from homes by the shovelful and devastated orchards in mid-Atlantic states, is showing up in Salt Lake City homes for the first time.
The bugs were first positively identified in Utah during November of 2012, and entomologists with Utah State University Extension started warning fruit, vegetable and berry growers that they could become a problem. It isn’t known if this stink bug will gain a foothold and spread in Utah, but the major problems it has caused in the eastern United States raises strong concern for its recent findings in Utah.
According to Diane Alston, USU Extension entomologist, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) was accidentally introduced into the eastern United States from Asia in the late 1990s. In 2001 it was officially identified in Pennsylvania, and has since spread along the eastern seaboard and westward into the Great Lakes region. In 2002 it was found in Portland, Ore., and spread to localized areas in Washington and California. It had not been found in Utah until late 2012.
During the winter, adults go into a hibernation-like state called diapause; they don’t feed, bite or sting, but wander inside buildings seeking warmth, she said. If disturbed, they can release a noxious defense chemical that can cause blisters if trapped next to the skin. This is also where the characteristic “stink” comes from.
“When the weather warms, they head outside and spend about two weeks feeding before they mate and lay eggs,” Alston said.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs have been found feeding on more than 60 plant species, she said. Crop plants which host BMSB include tree fruits and nuts such as peach, apricot, cherry, apple, pear, Asian pear, filbert, and cane and vine fruits including berries and grape. The most preferred vegetable and field crops include pepper, tomato, green bean, soybean, field and sweet corn. They also feed on ornamental plants such as butterfly bush, some rose species, honeysuckle, catalpa and Norway maple. Native and weed species are hosts that can act as reservoirs to perpetuate populations.
USU Extension will offer a commercial fruit growers workshop Feb. 28 in Provo to discuss identification and management of the BMSB and Spotted Wing Drosophila. For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/USUworkshops.