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