• Danielle Fornal

The Invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has established its home in Wisconsin, this news, of course, stinks for many farmers, gardeners, and really any commoners that are just yucked-out by this foul insect.

This invasive insect was first detected in Wisconsin in 2010 and on crops in Wisconsin in the summer of 2016. Initially it was attracted to apples and pumpkins, but the insect is overall attracted to a wide array of fruit, vegetable and grain crops and ornamental trees and bushes.

The BMSB originated in Asia, it wasn’t seen in the United States at all until the mid to late 1990’s, when it was spotted in Pennsylvania. Infestations of these insects tend to follow a pattern. They will start off by multiplying in urban areas, and then increase and spread into cropland. The future of this pest is predicted to expand, increase and spread, as stink bugs are capable of flying up to 70 miles per day. The spread of the BMSB is quite the cause for concern, as they have become a serious agricultural concern.

Methods to reduce and manage these smelly insects are being researched, both chemical and non-chemical. One such method includes introducing lab-reared samurai wasps to be released. Samurai wasps parasitize the eggs of the stink bug, but do not sting humans or other animals.

Adult BMSBs are mottled grayish-brown in color and triangular in shape. They are about ¾ of an inch long and have 6 legs. They emit a stinky defensive odor when disturbed or crushed.

The BMSB invades homes in the fall looking for a place to overwinter. You can find them congregating on the sides of buildings during warm months.

Although they do not carry disease or bite, they can cause allergies, they are a significant agricultural pest, and of course, they can be quite offensive to the nose.

Prevention of stinkbugs includes:

  • Installing weather stripping under and around doors

  • Screening attic and chimney vents

  • Caulking and sealing cracks around windows and other entry points

  • Replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to the BMSB

  • Vacuuming up large numbers of bugs at once

If numbers become too large to handle, it’s best to call a licensed pest management specialist to assess the problem.

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