Gardening Articles: Care :: Pests & Problems

Stopping Stinkbugs

by Susan Littlefield


There's another relatively new introduced insect pest that's causing problems for both commercial agricultural growers and home gardeners. It's also a home-invading nuisance as it crawls into houses looking for a sheltered spot to spend the winter. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an Asian native that was accidentally introduced in this country in the early 1990s. First spotted in Allentown, PA, it spread quickly and as of May, 2013 has been found in 40 states. Currently it's causing the most severe crop problems in the Mid-Atlantic states, but it has the potential to become a more widespread major crop and nuisance pest if its spread is not controlled.

To help come up with sustainable solutions for controlling brown marmorated stink bug, Stop BSMB.org was formed, a collaborative project involving 50 researchers from 10 institutions across the country working to come up with a defense against this invasive pest. Part of this project includes a helpful video series posted online. "Tracking the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug" shows growers and others how to identify BMSB, why this pest is important in agriculture, and what's at stake if it's not stopped. The series of ten videos covers history and identification; overwintering and spread; monitoring and mapping; host plants and damage in orchard crops, small fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals; management; and the newest addition added to the series, biological control, added in October of this year.

In addition, a helpful video for homeowners on how to keep stink bugs out of your house is available on the website. Mike Raupp, "The Bug Guy" at the University of Maryland Extension, demonstrates ways to keep stink bugs looking for winter shelter from getting inside buildings, and how to deal effectively with the ones that do make it in.

To watch these videos and learn more about identifying and dealing with the BMSB, go to Stop BMSB. (Image courtesy of David R. Lance, USDA APHIS, PPQ, Bugwood.org)

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