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Forest Invasivesbreadcrumb separatorMeet the Speciesbreadcrumb separatorInsectsbreadcrumb separatorBrown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

French Common name: punaise diabolique
Scientific name: Halyomorpha halys
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Pentatomidae 

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB; Halyomorpha halys) is native to Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China. The first identification of the BMSB in North America was in Pennsylvania in 2001, but records of this insect go back to the mid-1990’s. BMSB was first detected in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario in 2012. To date, the BMSB has been found in 43 states in the U.S. in addition to 4 provinces in Canada. BMSB has managed to become established in local pockets in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. In states where it is abundant, the BMSB is considered a nuisance pest that can be found indoors and out. In particular, BMSBs have become a problematic agricultural pest in Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, New York and Delaware.  In addition to North America, BMSB has been detected in several European countries including Hungary, Germany, and Switzerland. 

BMSB is a serious agricultural pest because its adults and nymphs feed on a wide variety of fruiting crops, causing damage to the fruit flesh and skin, making them unsuitable for food markets, but the damage caused by the BMSB  is not limited to feeding activities.  The BMSB has over 170 confirmed hosts in North America and is a landscape-level pest that moves between hosts during the growing season. Some landscape ornamental trees and bushes suffer under the pressure of BMSB attacks. BMSB is considered a ‘new’ pest in Ontario, and research is ongoing to determine the extent of its potential impacts as well the efficacy of monitoring, management and control options that are available.


Photo: Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org

Adult BMSB

Quick Tips:

- There are many species present in Canada that look similar to BMSB. Look-alikes include: spined soldier bugs (picture A, below) and rough stink bugs (picture B, below). The major visible distinction for the adult BMSB (picture C, below) is that it has two white bands on its antennae.


From left to right: (A) spined soldier, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org, (B) rough stink bugs, Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org, and (C) BMSB, Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS, Bugwood.org

Source for further tips:  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/BMSB-flyer.pdf

- BMSB can invade your house! Seal cracks that lead indoors as this is one of the main ways in which the BMSB can get inside residential and business buildings.

- BMSB can be removed from indoor locations with the help of a vacuum, hand picked with a tissue, or crushed and then disposed of in soapy water.

- A wide variety of commercial and homemade traps can be used where BMSB is abundant.

- Look for ‘cat-faced’ damaged fruit as a sign of BMSB damage to fruiting trees.

- Report any sightings! 

Learn About the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Insect

Physical Description

Eggs: 1.6 x 1.3 mm, pale green to pale yellow in colour with a white halo-like circle on the upper part of the egg. Eggs are usually found in clusters of approximately 25 on the underside of leaves.

Nymphs: look similar to ticks. The nymphs shed their exoskeleton in five nymphal stages, ranging from 2.4 mm to 12 mm in length, until they reach their winged adult form.

    • First instars nymphs: yellowish-orange abdomen, black thorax, and head capsule  
    • Second instars: mostly black with orange abdomens
    • Third through fifth instars: banding on the antennae of the nymphs and a single white band on each of the legs

    Photo: Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS, Bugwood.org 

    BMSB in
    three different nymphal stages and an egg mass.
    The dark red nymph is a first stage, the light red nymph has just molted and is therefore considered a new second stage nymph. The remaining 4 black nymphs are second stage or second instar nymphs.

    Adults: 14 to 17 mm in length, brown and white mottled appearance with smooth, rounded “shoulders” and two white bands on each antenna.

    Life Cycle

    Adult female BMSBs lay eggs over a period ranging from of two weeks to several months. Each of the nymphal stages lasts for about a week, but this duration varies based on the temperature of the area at the time. Newly mature adults feed before heading to protected overwintering sites. In the springtime, adults emerge over a prolonged period ranging from mid-April to early June. After wings have developed (two weeks into adulthood), the BMSB becomes sexually active and can mate. Female BMSBs can lay more than 400 eggs per year making the risk of crop damage high. The BMSB is considered damaging to the fruit in both its nymphal and adult stages because it injects tissue-destroying enzymes into fruit and sucks the fruit’s juice in both stages.

    Photo: Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS, Bugwood.org

    Adult BMSB on a fruit

    Host Trees

    The BMSB attacks a wide range of crops and plants ranging from grapes to orchard crops, bush and tree ornamentals to vegetables and field crops, such as apples, mulberries, soy and sweet corn. Other potential hosts in Ontario include buckthorn, catalpa, honeysuckle, tree of heaven, black walnut and Manitoba maple trees.

    Follow the link below for an extensive list of host plants affected by the BMSB: http://www.stopbmsb.org/where-is-bmsb/host-plants/


    Photo: Lynn Ketchum

    A brown marmorated stink bug feeding on a red pepper plant
    in an Oregon State University lab in Corvallis

    Signs and Symptoms

    Because adult and nymph BMSBs feed on fruit, vegetables and seed pods by piercing through their tissues and sucking the juices out, signs of the BMSB cause the tissue to be described as "cat-faced" and include:

    • Destroyed tissue

    • Distorted skin

    • Hardened flesh


    The BMSB has been detected in most of the states in the U.S., as well as in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island.

    Distribution of BMSB in the U.S. and broadly in Canada 

    Map: http://www.stopbmsb.org/where-is-bmsb/state-by-state/

    A detailed distribution map of BMSB in Ontario including where it has been found and where it is established can be found here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/bmsb-update.htm



    In the United States, the BMSB issue is mainly a nuisance to homeowners; however, the BMSB is starting to show up as an agricultural pest in some regions and is already a serious one in others. Refer to the map in the “Distribution” section to see various levels of BMSB impacts where it is found in North America. In Ontario, the BMSB has been a nuisance pest for homeowners for the most part, yet growers are continuing to see more BMSB injuries on their crops in areas where it has been detected and determined to be established.

    Economic Impacts

    Amongst the wide variety of crop and non-crop hosts that the BMSB feeds on, the insect prefers the reproductive parts of the crop and agricultural output. This puts fruit, vegetable, and agronomic crop growers where BMSB is established at a threat of an economic loss. The economic injury for apple growers had been estimated to be around $37 million dollars, as of 2010, in the mid-Atlantic states (Leskey et al., 2012). The BMSB threatens Ontario’s $43 million tender fruit industry including peaches, pears, plums, and nectarines (Ontario Tender Fruit Producer’s Marketing Board, 2014), and the $60 million apple industry (Ontario Apple Growers, 2015). BMSB infestations have already been found affecting wine grapes in the U.S. in Virginia, Oregon, and New Jersey. Ontario’s prominent wine and grape industry might be jeopardized with the spread and persistence of the BMSB, with a total economic impact of $3.3 billion (Frank, Rimerman & Co. LLP, 2013) including impacts on jobs, taxes, and tourism. The potential impacts mentioned in this section are meant to provide a glimpse into a wide range of potential economic threats that the BMSB may impose in areas where it is established.


    Photo: Bill Williams

    Ecological Impacts

    The BMSB mainly targets fruiting structures, seeds, and pods. The BMSB also feeds on the vegetative parts of plants, flower buds, leaves, and stems. It has been recorded that the BMSB can feed through the bark of thin-barked trees, often affecting young trees; however, the impact of BMSB feeding on young trees is still being evaluated.

    In addition, management options for the BMSB include insecticides, which may have associated environmental impacts.

    Social Impacts

    The BMSB poses a challenge to many farmers across North America, impacting their livelihood and well-being. The BMSB is not only an agricultural pest, but also a nuisance pest for homeowners causing problems in urban areas. The BMSB makes its way into homes and buildings, especially during the fall season, releasing odors and producing secretions that can stain surfaces.  

    Photo: Mike Lewinski

    Adult BMSB on the inside and outside of a home



    Pheromones, black lights, and pyramid traps are used as tools for detecting BMSB if they are present near where the traps are set. Visual surveys on preferred host plants, sweep nets, and tapping trays are also important tools for detection.

    Respond & Control

    Physical barriers such as placing bags on fruit growing in gardens and in small scale orchards can prevent BMSB damage.

    Tree banding can be used to stop nymphs from moving up a tree trunk (please note that this method may be impractical in cases where canopies are intertwined).

    Suggested methods to try:

    • Tree banding in an attempt to impede the movement of the BMSB nymph populations.

    • Aggregation pheromone traps in the peripheries of field crops may assist in the reduction of pesticides sprayed in the field.

    • Natural ingredients such as lemongrass and cloves may be used as BMSB repellents. Creating slow release formulas for the essentials oils or combining this technique with other methods may increase its effectiveness against BMSB. 

    Prevention is key to dealing with BMSB indoors:

    • It is important to repair cracks and seal any spaces around windows to prevent BMSBs from finding their way inside.

    • If BMSB populations are found near or in living spaces, an old vacuum cleaner may be used to capture BMSB, as the captured BMSB can leave behind an unpleasant smell. Drop the captured insects into soapy water to kill them.

    Studies are being undertaken to determine whether the parasitoids Trissolcus halyomorphae and Trissolcus japonicus are specific to BMSB in the U.S. Trissolcus halyomorphae has been found to exhibit a potential of up to 50% control of the BMSB population in China by attacking the BMSB eggs (ZhongQi et al., 2009). This species is considered to be of significant potential in North America in addition to the Asian wasp Trissolcus japonicus. Trissolcus japonicas, which is native to regions in Asia, is also known to attack the eggs of BMSB.  Research for biological control of BMSB is still ongoing in the U.S., and will most likely be the best option for long term management. 

    In Canada, there are commercially registered products that are currently available for control or suppression of the BMSB (Fraser, 2013). Please refer to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency label database as products are subject to change.

    Although chemical control options exist, there are associated challenges with this type of approach. In some cases, BMSB has been noted to develop resistance against insecticides. In addition, the residual activity of the insecticides is limited, so unless the insect comes into contact with the insecticide directly via spray contact or shortly thereafter, it is not proven to be an effective management tool.

    For more information about BMSB management options, please visit http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/bmsb-registrations.htm



    Dieckhoff, C., and Helmer, A. K. (2012). Safety screening of Foreign Biological Control Agents. Safety screening of Foreign Biological Control Agents. Retrieved from http://www.northeastipm.org/neipm/assets/File/BMSB%20Resources/BMSB-IWG-Jun-2012/Safety-Screening-of-Foreign-Biological-Control-Agents-Dieckhoff-Jun-2012.pdf on 24/11/2016


    Frank, Rimerman & Co. LLP (2013). The economic impact of the wine and grape industry in Canada: Canada’s Wine Economy – Ripe, Robust, Remarkable. This study was commissioned by the

    Canadian Vintners Association, Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, British Columbia Wine Institute, and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia.


    Fraser, H. (2016, Jan). Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs.  Retrieved from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/bmsb-resources.html on 20/10/2016


    Fraser, H. (2014, June). Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Questions, Answers and


    Fraset, H. (2013).Management options for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. OMAFRA. Retrieved from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/bmsb-registrations.htm#actara


    Gyeltshen, J., Bernon, G., Hodges, A., and Stocks, S. (2013, June). Features Creatures. University of Florida. Retrieved from http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/brown_marmorated_stink_bug.htm on 19/10/2016

    Ingles, C. (2014, May). Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. University of California Statewide IPM Program. Retrieved from http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74169.html on 19/10/2016


    Invasive Species Compendium. (2013, Aug). Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug). Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/27377 on 18/10/2016


    Jacobs, S.( 2014). Brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. Penn State Coop Extn. 4 pp


    Jacobs, S. (2015, Feb). Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Penn State Department of Entomology. Retrieved from http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug on 18/10/2016


    Leskey, T. C., Hamilton, G. C., Nielsen, A. L., Polk, D. F., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Bergh, J. C., ... and Hooks, C. R. (2012). Pest status of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys in the USA. Outlooks on Pest Management, 23(5), 218-226.


    Management Strategies for Homeowners. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and

    Rural affairs. Retrieved from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/bmsb-indoors.htm on on 19/10/2016


    Ontario Apple Growers (2015). Apple facts. Accessed July 2015 at http://onapples.com/all-about-apples/apple-facts.php


    Ontario Tender Fruit Producer’s Marketing Board (2014). 35th annual report and financial statements for the year ending January 31st, 2014. Accessed July 2015 at http://www.ontariotenderfruit.ca/uploads/file/2013-Tender-Fruit-Final-with-Financials.pdf


    "Pungent pests; Stink bugs." The Economist (US) (2011): 36. Print.

    Quarles, w. (2014, Dec) IPM for the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.  Stop BMSB. Retrieved from http://www.stopbmsb.org/managing-bmsb/management-overview/ 19/10/2016

    Original article appeared in the IPM Practitioner (vol. 34, no. 3). This online version was produced in partnership between the Bio-Integral Resource Center and the Northeastern IPM Center.

    Stop BMSB. (2016, Aug). Stink Bug Basics: Life Stages. Retrieved from http://www.stopbmsb.org/stink-bug-basics/life-stages/ on 19/10/2016

    Tomasino, E., Mohekar, P., Lapis, T., Wiman, N., Walton, V., & Lim, J. (2013). Effect of brown marmorated stink bug on wine—impact to Pinot Noir quality and threshold determination of taint compound trans-2-decenal. In The 15th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, Sydney, Australia, July (pp. 13-18).

    ZhongQi, Y., YanXia, Y., LanFen, Q., and ZhongXin,  L. (2009). A new species of Trissolcus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) parasitizing eggs of Halyomorpha halys (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in China with comments on its biology. Annuals of the Entomological Society of America 102: 39-47