Let’s start on a positive note. We did not find any brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) during our corn or soybean field survey this year. Though the eager summer students are always disappointed that they come back each year with nothing to show for their training and scouting efforts, I am always relieved.
The not-so-great news is that they are spreading to many locations across Ontario. Through past BMSB surveys and OMAFRA’s outreach efforts to homeowners (BMSB overwinter as adults in homes), we know that they have been overwintering in: Beamsville, Brampton, Burlington, Cedar Springs, Delhi, Fort Erie, Grimsby, Hamilton, Kincardine, London, Maidstone, Milton, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottawa, Paris, St. David’s, Stoney Creek, Tecumseh, Toronto, Vaughan, and Waterdown.
During our more recent two year survey (2012 to 2014), in addition to scouting host crops at risk (i.e. corn, soybeans, apples etc), we also looked for BMSB at locations with multiple tree hosts (i.e. parks, conservation areas) or high traffic corridors where transport trucks, trains, planes and tourists stop when coming from infested US states. From this work we have found breeding populations of BMSB in Hamilton, London, Newboro, St. Catharines and Windsor. Of greater concern are the recent reports of low levels of stinkbug damage being found on two apple farms near Hamilton and Waterdown and homeowner complaints about damage to garden and ornamental plants. This is a good indication that BMSB is reaching higher population densities that will push them to move to their host crops in the near future.
We continue to stay informed on research efforts being conducted in the Mid-Atlantic states where BMSB has been causing significant economic damage in corn and soybeans. Thresholds, spray timings and search for effective products are being worked out there and will be validated and put to use here in Ontario if and when management is required here.
If you’d like more information on BMSB, visit our site at www.ontario.ca/stinkbug. And if you think you have found BMSB on your farm or in your home, please contact the Agriculture Information Contact Centre 1-877-424-1300 or email good quality photos and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in case I don’t write another blog post this year, I want to wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!