Since 2010 there has been an increasing amount of news and media attention given to a relatively new pest in crop production, home gardening and home maintenance – a true “bug” named the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, (Halyomorpha halys, family Pentatomidae). This stinky bug, also known as BMSB, was introduced accidentally into the Mid-Atlantic States from Asia where it is a known agricultural pest, in the mid-90s. This bad guy bug has proven to be a serious pest of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the North East, and it is spreading. This unlovely bug is now known to be breeding in 32 states across the country, including Oregon.
This Stink Bug is moving easily from place to place largely due to its climate adaptability, overwintering in sheltered places and in houses, having no native, natural predator species or parasites, and having a very large number of plants on which it can feed (over 300 host plants!).
Research by Agricultural Extension services and universities across the country is working hard to find ways to eradicate, or at least control, this bug. There are currently several strategies for dealing with the Stink Bug:
- There are pheromone-based attractants and traps for outdoor use. These are child and pet safe, using no toxic chemicals. (Ours is a RESCUE trap and attractant.)
- For protection against the bug in the home garden, floating row cover (Crop Cover) can be very useful.
- To exclude the bug from your home, where they are primarily a nuisance pest, it is recommended to seal all entry points – around screens, doors and vents, as well as near utility ports. This is important in preventing the bugs over-wintering in homes.
- The bugs can also be vacuumed up – just make sure to empty the collecting bag or container into soapy water to eradicate the bug.
- There are many sites online full of tips in controlling this stinky bug. A video put out by Mike Raupp of the University of Maryland Extension service (http://www.growit.umd.edu/) is a great guide.
- In fall, consult licensed spray services for control of large aggregations of the stink bugs trying to access your home’s interior for overwintering.