Some of you may have heard about this one in the news recently. The brown marmorated stink bug, BMSB for short, is the next invasive species that we need to be concerned about. It’s a triple threat since it not only feeds on hort crops but also field crops and overwinters in homes, becoming a homeowner’s headache too.
Currently it can be found in several states, including Ohio and most recently Michigan which indicates that it is soon to be, if not already here in Ontario. Originally from Asia, it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2001 but has now reached economically significant levels in PA, NJ, DE, MD, WV and VA. Maryland experienced significant damage to most crops listed including silage corn fields that had 50 to 100 bugs per plant!
Host crops include: pome fruit, tree nuts, grapes, berry crops, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, sweet, seed, silage and grain corn, soybeans, snap beans, dry beans and ornamental trees and shrubs.
There are a few key features to look for when identifying this insect:
1. it is shield shaped (like other stink bugs)
2. it has white bands along its antennae
3. it has white triangles in a pattern along its abdomen
4. the edge of its pronotum or “shoulders” is smooth.
We (OMAFRA) will be monitoring for this pest this summer. But if you happen to come across it in your home or field, please let us know.
The important thing for now is to confirm its presence here in Ontario. It will likely take at least two to three years before we actually start to experience crop damage.