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Where did all the Bugs Come From?

Excerpted from Shady Notes (A publication of the Maryland Arborist Association, Inc)
Stanton Gill, Extension Specialist in IPM for Nursery, Greenhouse and Landscape, CMREC, University of Maryland Extension and Professor in the Landscape Technology Program, Montgomery College.


          Recently, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys was introduced from Asia into the mid-Atlantic region. This infestation is believed to have originated in Allentown, PA in the mid 1990s. Since then, BMSB has spread to New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia, mainly in trucks, campers and cars.  

          The BMSB have also been detected in Mississippi, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, and California. BMSB is polyphagous pest whose range includes high-value crops such as cut flowers, vegetables, tree fruit, ornamentals, hardwood trees and cultivated crops such as soybean and sweet corn. In the region encompassing western Maryland and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, populations have steadily increased annually since first detection in 2003 and 2004, respectively. During the 2009 and 2010 growing season, serious, economic injury to preach, apple and Asian pear due to large BMSB populations was commonly detected in orchards late in July through October.

          I have had three greenhouse operations bring in potted chrysanthemums with BMSB feeding on mum stems. In nurseries we found them feeding on crabapples, cultivated apples, Hibiscus and holly berries. In landscape we have reports of them feeding on basil, tomatoes and peppers. In cut flower operations, we have found them feeding on sunflowers and zinnias. They appear to be very attracted to the florets on the sunflower.
Some commercial growers have used increasing numbers of pyrethorid applications, a class of insecticides found to be effective against, BMSB, in an attempt to control BMSB and mitigate economic injury. The trouble is the insects attack fruit and vegetables just about harvest time. This means a very short time before the consumer will be handling the treated product.

          In addition to the agricultural threat posed by BMSB, this invasive species also is emerging as a serious nuisance pest for homeowners and business. In the fall, BMBS adults move from host plants and seek overwintering sites, particularly in homes and other buildings. During this behavioral shift, profound numbers of adults will move toward and aggregate on the outside of structures and eventually seek entry within. Local newspapers and television station in MD, WC, PA, NJ, VA and, DE have reported on this summer/fall aggregation behavior, highlighting the problems for homeowners. After entry into overwintering sites, BMSB will often be found aggregating in large numbers in small confined spaces such as behind bookshelves, beneath mattresses, inside filters of window-mounted AC units within homes or between layers of stacked building materials in garages.

         This highlights the societal impact imposed by the presence of this pest and the need to address homeowner and growers concerns. This is a new pest for all of entomologist and there is much to learn before we can provide really good control techniques.

          We know that they are attracted to artificial lights at night and cluster near sodium vapor lights that are high in the red spectrum. Presently, I am working with Maryland growers in setting up trials with traps that use black and white emitting lights with different hues to see if we can develop an effective trap. We have just started this project in early September so we don’t have anything to report yet. Meanwhile, pyrethorids do kill them but it also kills many beneficial organisms. We need to continue the research efforts and find a control that has less impact on the environment.

Source: SPS

This entry was posted on Monday, November 15th, 2010 at 3:16 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.