Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Apple IPM Transition Project

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Volume: 3 Issue: 5 Nov. 15, 2010    Download PDF

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PMTP Newsletter - Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)

In this issue:

Emerging Exotic Pest   Indentification of BMSB   BMSB Biology

Potential Crop Damage   Research Efforts   References

Emerging Exotic Pest: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)

The first discovery of BMSB was in Allentown, PA where it quickly spread to other Mid-Atlantic states. It is now found

in 29 states across the US. Although there are no confirmed detections in WA*, BMSB appears to now be resident in northwest OR (Portland south to Corvallis and east to Hood River).

BMSB is native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. It may have been introduced to the US by way of cargo shipments from Asia. It is considered a major economic pest in Asia attacking a variety of high value crops, including tree fruit.

This insect has made its presence known by causing losses in eastern stone fruit and apples and by becoming a late season pest in urban areas.

The devastating potential of this insect has triggered a flurry of activity by state and federal agricultural researchers. Four research priorities critical to understanding and control are:

  • Behavioral studies including host preference, movement and responses to cues;
  • Biology studies including physiology and number of generations per year;
  • Standardized sampling studies to determine best traps, lures, their placement and timing;
  • Determine which crops are susceptible and when.
* an unconfirmed discovery in Vancouver, WA

BMSB on appleYet another exotic pest has hit the news feeds: the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys or BMSB.

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Identification of BMSB

There are several stink bugs native to the Pacific Northwest that could be confused with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. One of the most common ones to be confused is the predator Rough Shield Stink Bug (RSSB), Brochymena quadripustula.

Comparing key features will readily differentiate the two species. BMSB antennae are longer and the segments are banded. RSSB have teeth-like projections on the edges of the thorax which BMSB lacks. Also, the general body shape is different. Images to the right compare both species.

For a comparison of BMSB to other species common to this region along with additional information, please visit our web page at:

Rough Shield Stink Bug
Rough Shield Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Images courtesy of: Oregon Department of Agriculture

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What's Known About the Biology

USDA-ARS researchers in WV have observed that there are two full generations of BMSB beginning with the previous year’s overwintered adults in the Spring. These become active, move into orchards and start to feed and mate. Egg masses are laid with nymphs hatching soon afterwards. The nymphs feed voraciously while undergoing five nymphal stages before developing

into adults, ending the first cycle of the year. By September the second generation of adults are present and may begin to leave the orchard to overwinter.

In regions were BMSB is present, mass migrations of adults flood into urban areas, including homes, looking for a

warm place to overwinter causing public outcry. Although harmless to people, they can emit an unpleasant odor if disturbed.

(Life cycle images courtesey of:
Will Hershberger USDA-ARS)
BMSB adults
Eggs to 1st Instar BMSB BMSB Nymphs

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Potential For Crop Damage

apple exterior stink bug feeding damage
apple interior stink bug feeding damage

BMSB is considered a major agricultural pest in Asia damaging a wide variety of crops including tree crops, grapes and vegetables. In the Mid-Atlantic states devastating crop loss has already occurred in commercial orchards with some growers losing entire blocks of stone fruit, as shown to the right. Severe injury was also detected in apples and Asian pears.

Adults and nymphs feed on fruit beginning in the Spring and continuing through harvest. The images to the left show the effect of stink bug feeding on apple. Dimples and even cat-facing if severe enough, are exterior signs of feeding. When cut, internal damage appears as corkiness similar to bitterpit.

crop loss in east coast peaches

Pyrethroid insecticides can be used to control BMSB, however there are signs of resistance developing. Re-infestation can quickly occur from untreated areas. Other forms of control need to be developed for long term management.

images courtesy of USDA-ARS

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Research Efforts

A large multi-state, multi-agency and industry working group has been established to combat this new pest threat. While the general biology of BMSB is fairly well known, details of its host preferences, behavior and control are not. This has prompted the development of a long list of research priorities addressing these issues. The top four were mentioned at the start of this newsletter.

Current research activities centered in the eastern US focus on:

  • Identifying effective chemical controls;
  • Developing effective monitoring methods to estimate pest density;
  • Finding effective natural enemies to enhance biological control;
  • Identifying attractants to be used for monitoring and possibly for attract-and-kill traps.
stink bug monitoring trap
Image source: USDA-ARS

Clearly, much work is needed to identify the best ways to battle this new threat. Although BMSB has yet to arrive in eastern WA, an active research program on native stink bugs funded by the Tree Fruit Research Commission will be modified to address issues of the BMSB distribution and its threat to tree fruit crops in this state.


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USDA-ARS Fact Sheet on BMSB Sept 2010.pdf

Article on monitoring of BMSB from Invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Article on host range of BMSB

Pest Alert: Brown Marmoratated Stink Bug from Oregon State Dept. of Agriculture

Washington Post: Invasion of stink bugs has homeowners, farmers seeking relief


Rutgers Univ.: Monitoring for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Rutgers Univ.: How to ID Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Univ. Georgia): Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Penn. State Univ.: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Massachuesetts Introduced Pests Outreach: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug


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