Brown marmorated stink bug - a challenging pest!

Stink bugs are a huge problem for me. You can see what i mean here

I wanted to point out a great article shown below

" Stink bugs a foul foe

Oregon specialty crops present attractive enticement for BMSB.

April 1st 2020 Issue

Kate Prengaman // April 13, 2020

Brown marmorated stink bug damage is on the rise in Oregon and Mid-Columbia orchards, although the damage from BMSB feeding in pears may be confused with cork spot, Oregon State University entomologist Rick Hilton cautions.(Courtesy Rick Hilton)

Brown marmorated stink bugs really like pears. And cherries. And hazelnuts.

So, as BMSB naturalizes in many of Oregon’s extra-orchard landscapes, growers face a new pest pressure and plenty of unknowns.

“We’re sort of behind the situation back East and we’ve been using that information to prepare here,” said Rick Hilton, an Oregon State University entomologist based in Medford. “But back East, there aren’t many pears grown and there certainly aren’t any hazelnuts.”

Ideally, management would reduce stink bug damage without introducing too many blanket, broad spectrum sprays that put integrated pest management approaches in jeopardy, but the difficult-to-predict pest poses a challenge when it comes to using monitoring traps to predict damage.

“We’re trying to use some of the techniques that have been established on the East Coast, but this is a different cropping system with a different surrounding ecosystem,” said Chris Adams, an entomologist who joined the OSU Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center late last year. “I’m afraid we are going to have our own learning curve here.”

Linked to landscape

BMSB first popped up in Oregon in 2004, but the past two years have been a turning point in terms of its threat to specialty crops, said Nik Wiman, an OSU entomologist based in the Willamette Valley.

“Initially, we were first working with it in urban areas, but now it’s crossed a threshold where it’s become naturalized,” he said. “We have a lot of areas of orchard crops that are bordered with natural vegetation, and some of the trees in those remnant natural forest borders are really good hosts for the stink bug.”

That certainly seems to be part of the problem for pear growers in the White Salmon area in the Columbia Gorge, said OSU extension specialist Ashley Thompson. White Salmon is in Washington, but often monitored by OSU as part of the Columbia Gorge growing area. The first economic damage occurred in 2018, and last year it was even worse, she said. It may even be underestimated, because the feeding damage can look similar to cork spot.

“About 50 percent of the cull you think is cork spot is likely stink bug — that’s what we are hearing from the packing houses,” she said.

Early-season feeding, when the pears are still quite hard, can result in fruit deformities similar to those caused by stony pit, a virus that’s common in older Bosc blocks but rare in newer plantings, she said.

Early-season BMSB feeding can result in significant pear deformities. The result can look similar to stony pit, a no-longer-common problem caused by a virus that’s frequently found in older Bosc blocks, OSU entomologist Rick Hilton said.(Courtesy Rick Hilton)

Orchards surrounded by riparian forest — including bigleaf maples that appear to be a particular BMSB favorite — put the White Salmon growers at high risk.

“The challenge with stink bugs is that it can build up its numbers on wild hosts and then come into your orchard continually,” Adams said. That’s led some researchers to promote perimeter spray techniques, but he’s not sure that approach will work in White Salmon.

“Stink bugs are probably raining down from the hills and tree tops, due to the difference in topography,” he said.

In Medford, the worst spot for BMSB is a block at the OSU research orchard next to a riparian woodland, Hilton said. The untreated trees in his research trial there showed “extremely high levels of damage,” he said.

For cherry growers, the surrounding landscape may offer an advantage. Growers in The Dalles have not reported BMSB problems, Thompson said, while in the Willamette, Wiman reports that cherries are targeted by the overwintering adults. Like peaches in the East, cherries and almonds appear to be really good hosts.

“The one advantage the cherry industry has is that most of the production is in the desert,” he said.

Trap trouble

When Wiman used monitoring traps in Willamette cherry orchards, he encountered a problem. The commercial BMSB lures use an aggregation pheromone that doesn’t seem as effective in the spring — when the stink bugs are dispersing and looking for hosts — as it is in the fall when they aggregate before overwintering, he said.

“So, for an early-season crop such as cherries, that early season when you need the traps to be working, you can’t expect enough catch,” he said. He set up a trial to find the relationship between trap catch and damage for cherries, pears and hazelnuts, and found a negative relationship.

“In my opinion, we have a long way to go to understand how we can use these traps in management,” he said. He recommends a sticky-card trap, paired with the lure, for detection, in natural vegetation outside the orchard.

In the Mid-Atlantic U.S., researchers developed trap-catch, threshold-based spray recommendations, but Wiman doesn’t think that approach will work best in the Pacific Northwest because it results in growers spraying insecticides at a much greater frequency.

“We have a lot more to lose by increasing our spray intervals up to that level,” he said. “There’s so much at stake in the IPM systems that are in place that we don’t want to lose with pyrethroid sprays against stink bugs.”

But with pest pressure rising, growers need solutions. Wiman believes the parasitoid samurai wasp offers the best long-term control option for the pest across the landscape. In the meantime, he’s interested in the potential of spray timing to target nymphs and the repellent effect of particle films or exclusion netting, which Betsy Beers at Washington State University has found beneficial. She’s also tested intriguing attract-and-kill systems that combine the lure with insecticidal netting — but luring a lot of stink bugs to their death doesn’t necessarily reduce orchard damage.

Adams plans to trial that approach, and others, in the Mid-Columbia area this season.

“We’re going to try every idea that’s remotely possible to see if we can make a difference for these growers out here,” he said.

The good news: Growers and field reps in the regions are on the lookout for BMSB damage, so they won’t be blindsided like Eastern growers were back in 2010, Hilton said.

“We’re really just trying to forewarn everyone so we don’t get caught off guard,” he said. •

by Kate Prengaman

April 13th, 2020|April 1st 2020 Issue, Insects and mites, Kate Prengaman, Pears, Pest Management

About the Author: Kate Prengaman

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Kate Prengaman is the editor for Good Fruit Grower and also writes articles for the print magazine and website. Contact her at 509-853-3518 or at"

They are concerned in Australia about this pest as well
" Rapid spread of BMSB calls for extra vigilance

Published on January 21, 2020


The rapid spread of the exotic pest Brown Marmorated Stink Bug across the northern hemisphere is putting unprecedented pressure on Australia’s biosecurity defences. While authorities work hard to keep this unwanted pest out, growers need to know what it looks like and be ready to respond if an outbreak occurs.

When you are next at a computer, take five minutes to watch a YouTube segment Stink Bug Hunters in Italy. It’s a short video, but it packs a pretty powerful punch.

As New Zealand Professor Max Suckling turns over the leaves of pears and kiwi fruit in Udine in northern Italy, ‘hunting’ is a major overstatement of what’s required. You don’t need to hunt for bugs that are swarming in the traps and up the trees, laying eggs under the leaves. They are everywhere.

“What damage have you seen here on different crops?” Max asks local Plant Health Service officer Iris Bernardinelli. “On pears, almost 100 per cent damage,” she replies.

100 per cent.

Meet the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB: Halyomorpha halys). According to Australia’s Inspector General of Biosecurity Dr Helen Scott-Orr, efforts last year to keep this exotic pest out of Australia ‘stretched Australia’s border biosecurity system close to breaking point’. This year is expected to be worse.

Adult BMSB. Photo Kristie Graham, USDA ARS,

Native to Asia, the BMSB is currently establishing itself as a serious horticultural pest across the globe, first appearing in the USA in the 1990s, in Europe in 2007 and more recently in Chile.

So severe was the impact of BMSB in Italy this season that growers abandoned affected crops and the country’s entire pear crop was declared at risk. Even under netting losses of 30-40 per cent were reported.

Robert Wiedmer, Technical Coordinator at the Northern Italy-based extension group Beratungsring, and a guest speaker at the Autumn Future Orchard walks here in April, told AFG that from a first detection in 2012 and first reported damage in 2014, BMSB had spread across the entire country, where it has no native predator, with the majority of the damage recorded in the northern fruit-growing regions.

“The bug is now found all over Italy,” he said. “The first damage was observed in Emilia Romagna in 2014, and since then the infested area has expanded every year and the damage has increased.”

BMSB feeds on just about any agricultural and horticultural crop you can think of with a host range of over 300 plants ranging from stone and pome fruit, cherries, tree nuts, citrus, berries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, capsicum and other vegetables to corn, soybeans, cereals and cotton and ornamentals.

In Italy Robert said pears had proved particularly attractive.

“This is why the damage to pears is particularly bad and has led to total crop losses in some cases this year,” he said. “The losses also depend very much on the location of the orchard. The damage to apple crops is lower.”

“The damage is currently being assessed; however, it can be assumed that several 100 million euros (100m Euro = AUD160m) in losses were incurred this year.”

Top 10 pest and rising

BMSB is yet to establish in Australia, where it currently sits at number 10 on the High Priority Pest list for apples and pears.

Biosecurity response consultant at research group cesar Dr Jessica Lye predicts that when the list is next revised BMSB will move up due to its rapid spread across North America and Europe, its wide host range, ability to wreak economic havoc and incredibly effective habit of hitchhiking all over the globe.

The risk to agriculture includes not only crop losses – which based on world-wide experience can run to 80 per cent – but also major challenges to Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) programs, possible market access issue sand the economic impact of any control zones and movement restrictions imposed in response to outbreaks.

In an interview with Good Fruit Grower magazine in March this year, Greg Krawczyk, entomologist at Pennsylvania State University’s Fruit Research and Extension Centre in Adams County said the use of broad-spectrum chemistry in response to BMSB in the US had wiped out natural predators of secondary pests such as woolly apple aphid, scales, mites and aphids, populations of which had then escalated and impacted crops as a result.

“We really messed up the whole integrated pest management system we had before,” he said.

As well as being an agricultural pest, BMSB is also a major public nuisance pest, seeking shelter in homes and buildings, vehicles and sheds, often in large numbers, where, true to its name, it produces a foul smell if crushed or disturbed. If once established in cities and towns, experts argue it will be near impossible to eradicate.

Holding back a rising tide

The 2019-20 high risk season kicked off on 1 September and runs to 31 May, a period which coincides with the north hemisphere winter months in which BMSB hibernates.

So far this year there have been 54 detections of the pest and in early December a ship carrying 3500 cars and heavy machinery was turned back after bugs were found aboard.

The numbers of BMSB reaching Australian borders have been steadily rising since it was first detected here in large numbers in 2014-15 in vehicles and machinery shipped from the United States. It is inevitable that some bugs will sneak through.

BMSB has been detected post-border in WA, QLD, Vic and NSW on three occasions in 2017-18 and eight in 2018-2019, triggering prompt eradication responses by State Governments. The bug has also been found in SA hiding in imported goods and picked up by border controls in Tasmania. As weather warms up Victoria and WA have ongoing surveillance around detection sites from last season to confirm all bugs have been eradicated.

Compounding the challenge of the rising BMSB population is the seasonal behaviour of this bug which effectively means it goes into hiding and hitchhikes around the globe. A voracious feeder during the warmer months, it clusters and hibernates in large numbers during the cooler months. sheltering in out of the way places.

Electrical equipment, bricks, agricultural machinery and parts, a mini bulldozer, shrink-wrap terracotta pots, household goods and furniture, air conditioning brackets, pumps, lawnmowers, computers, books and personal items shipped by sea and by air are just some of the places these bugs have been found.

On arrival at Australian shores, bugs emerge from hibernation, hungry and ready to seek out food.

The Australian Government declared the USA a target-risk country for BMSB after the 2014-15 season. Italy was added in 2017-18 as detections on goods from Europe increased. France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Russia joined the list for 2018–19, a season which saw a near doubling in live interceptions (Figure 1) and the turnback of two ships after live bugs were discovered on board.

This season there are 32 countries categorized as target risk including the United States, most of Europe and Canada. A 33rd, Japan, is subject to heightened vessel surveillance only.

The Australian Government, working with the New Zealand Government, has significantly ramped up risk management measures for this season targeting cargo imports from high risk countries. Detector dogs have been trained in Australia to detect BMSB in high risk imported machinery, with other measures including mandatory offshore fumigation, onshore treatment and random pest inspections. Vessels with goods deemed high risk that turn up untreated, or on which bugs are found, will – as in the case of car and machinery cargo ship in December – simply be turned away.

Government and industry are also engaged in ongoing risk analysis and research into new ways to respond to, detect and manage the threat posed by the global expansion of BMSB.

Figure 1 Number of live BMSB incidents by season and continent, 1 September 2004 to 7 May 2019 (Source: Effectiveness of biosecurity measures to manage the risks of brown marmorated stink bugs entering Australia, Inspector General of Biosecurity)

What can growers do?

Nymph showing characteristic white bands on legs, antenna and along edge of body. Photo Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS,

Adult Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Photo David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,

When they hatch, BMSBs are brightly coloured, black and reddish-orange and remain clustered about the egg mass… Photo David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,

Be aware

Arguably the most important action growers can take is simply to be aware of the risk, what the bug looks like and what to do if you spot it – contain it and contact the Australian Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

The high-risk period runs until May and females emerging from hibernation can deposit eggs within two weeks.

Growers should be particularly cautious if they have imported machinery from overseas or used shipping containers direct from port, and consider keeping tracking information for reference if an incursion does occur.

A big challenge for Australian growers is that there are a large number of Australian native stink bugs which are similar to BMSB, and cause similar damage to fruit. It is important to know what you are looking for, but not to be alarmed until absolute identification has been established.

The adult has a brown ‘shield’-shaped body, the colour of which varies but is generally mottled with a reddish tinge. It can be distinguished from native stink bugs by the distinctive white banding on its antennae and the outer edge of its body.

Eggs are laid in clusters of 25 to 30 on the underside of leaves. They are light green to white in colour, and barrel shaped.

There are very good identification guides – for both BMSB and native stink bugs – available for download online (see resource links below). Print them out and pin them in a prominent place with the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

Fruit damage

Damage can appear as necrotic spots, dimpling and brown corky spots in the flesh which can be mistaken for calcium disorder.

“There is ongoing work overseas to better understand what these salivary toxins are doing,” Jess Lye explains. “When it is feeding it essentially liquifies the surrounding tissue.

“Someone might notice the pierce holes, or you might see the bug clustering on apples, but it is the brown corking that is really noticeable when you cut into the fruit, as well as sunken areas on the skin.”

Note: native stink bugs cause similar damage, so it may be necessary to catch the pest to be sure which is responsible.

Italian apples and pears showing BMSB damage. Photo: Robert Wiedmer, Beratungsring, Italy.

“It is how we respond and approach these challenges that make Australian farmers leaders in IPDM” – Elizabeth Mace

Practise orchard hygiene

Practise good on-farm biosecurity. Don’t just let anyone into your orchard. Check your property, equipment, vehicles and crops regularly for BMSB and other unusual plant pests and diseases. If you receive a container of equipment, or a package from overseas, consider the risk and inspect it.

In spring, summer and potentially autumn, BMSB will seek out ripe/ripening fruit to feed on, aggregating on leaves and fruit. BMSB prefer edges of crops and orchards, so focus on these areas when conducting visual surveillance. Most damage occurs in early summer, but may only become noticeable coming into harvest.

BMSB have been found to be particularly attracted to ornamentals including Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Princess tree (Paulownia tomentose), Magnolia and Chinese pistachio, so if you have these trees, keep an eye on them also.

Check under leaves for juveniles and eggs. Adults are attracted to light, so check around any outdoor lighting in the evening. Note that this pest is very sensitive to movement and will drop to the ground when disturbed. Regular visual surveillance appears to be the most effective approach to finding this pest.

Set up surveillance

Logistic centres, packhouses and areas close to businesses that handle a high volume of goods from overseas may wish to take the precaution of monitoring during the high risk season. There are a number of lures and sticky or pyramid traps available from overseas companies online – Trece, AgBio and Alpha Scents – though growers need to be aware prices and effectiveness varies.

The APVMA has approved six permits for use of lures and further details are available on the APAL and APVMA websites.

The WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has a simple online video and fact sheet on making a home-made light trap for BMSB.

BMSB-free, a status worth preserving

If BMSB does get in and cannot be eradicated, growers, like their overseas counterparts, will find ways of managing it. At the extreme end the hazelnut-growing South Caucasus state of Abkhazia encourages the public to catch them by hand, offering a bounty of 1000 rubles (AUD $22) per kilogram of bugs – in the first year they collected five tonnes.

Ten years after BMSB became established in the USA, growers say they are learning to manage the bug with monitoring and threshold spraying, alongside biological controls and attract-and-kill strategies.

Pest and disease technician Elizabeth Mace of Goulburn Valley-based GV Crop Protection said Australian growers are already managing native pests, such as the harlequin beetle, that exhibit similar behaviour to BMSB.

““It is not as scary as it seems,” she said. “There are practical solutions available, such as vigilance, weed management and spot spraying. There are always challenges in farming, it is how we respond and approach these challenges that make Australian farmers leaders in IPDM solutions.

“But chemistry is a fall-back strategy.

“Surveillance and prevention is the best outcome.”


Which bug is that? Identification of BMSB

The Biosecurity – has BMSB resources linked from its home page including DAWR’s identification guide, which covers other similar bugs.

Information, fact sheets, and videos on BMSB are available via a quick link on Agriculture Victoria’s website

Protect your farm

Download a free Farm Biosecurity Planner from or get the smartphone app from

Current responses

­­­­­­The National pest & disease outbreaks site – – has information about BMSB and current responses.



Stink bugs and Oriental Fruit Moth are my two biggest pests. Stink bugs seem more attracted to apples than pears. I believe peaches suffer from stink bug damage too, though it could be another pest. Plums seem unbothered.

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shocking :roll_eyes:

thats surprising. they cause by far the most damage on asian pears here at my site


they are a problem for raspberries as well

you will usually find stink bugs on the berries or the eggs (below is what the eggs look like)

raspberry stink bug

I tried setting up a cheap DIY in one of the raspberry patches and I dont think it worked very well; bought 2 cheap lamps at walmart and foil pans and ran a cord out there but didn’t seem to do much; I think those failed because I had only 2 for a large raspberry patch (and with a lot more all over, they should work)

next yr I will try led light in a plastic 2L bottle, electrical tape; can set a bunch and no cords

with a bunch of those (cheap), I think they will be effective but we’ll see


I read this yesterday ironically. Those lil stink bugs are all over the north end of seattle too. They are as common as ladybugs and honey bees it seems now. My son and I were squishing dozens of them the otherday “resting” on a big cedar trunk while we waited for the school bus.


This time of year they try to come indoors to escape the cold, you see them often hanging out just outside your home entrance waiting for door to open. They are more prevalent now than several years ago.
Kent wa


Im finding them all over my pawpaws this time of year


Can you tell if they actually do damage to the fruit?


They certainly aren’t the disaster they were predicted to be and certainly were to certain peach growers the first year they became a major pest. Up here in NY they are a minor pest… so far. They haven’t caused special problems in the orchards I manage for a few years although they are a pest in peoples homes.

I only hope spotted lantern fly is being similarly over-hyped… at least as BMS has been in my own region.


I have not noticed any pear damage to ours or our neighbor’s, maybe some on apples but it could be apply fly maggot that we see when we don’t get enough surround WP coated on the fruit. I was surprised to see the pear damage in Oregon shown. Could be a seasonal difference as why they do not damage our pears since we don’t treat our pears at all
Kent, wa

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Stink bugs started to appear here in the Vancouver, Canada, area about 2-3 years ago. I didn’t pay much attention to them because they didn’t seem to do any damage. This year I noticed them almost everywhere, but especially on my raspberry bushes. I didn’t notice any serious damage to the raspberry crop, but my Asian pears were mysteriously dimpled and distorted when I started to pick them. I soon found out that this was symptomatic of stink bug damage, and they damaged most of my pear crop. This is just the latest serious pest to arrive in this area, after SWD, Apple Maggots, and Picnic Beetles.


That occured about the 5th season of harvests here, maybe 15 years ago. I believe it was the result of the pest finding the trees, but I don’t doubt that global warming may have played a part. However, they have not arrived at all the nearby orchards I manage. Mine is on the edge of the woods which encourages them more, I think, than mowed sod.

My problem is green stink bugs. For some reason they weren’t so bad this last season and I got a big crop, although something pierced a lot of the fruit with its proboscis, I guess, creating a needle point where rot developed quickly. Whether that was BMS, I don’t know. I didn’t see any in the fruit. I really don’t care that much for the fruit anymore, and mostly give them away. Lots of people love the sweet things. I cut down all others and now have a single Korean Giant, the only one I consider worth growing here of those I’ve tried.


Yeah, I think I get more damage on pears too.

This year was surprisingly low pressure from stink bugs and Spotted Wing Drosophila, Codling Moth, and Apple Maggot. But also a plague from yellowjackets for the first time.

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Yeah, I’ve encountered a couple in my house these past couple of weeks. Fortunately never more than one at a time. They make quite a bit of noise when they fly, and aren’t interested in biting me. So its not terrifying.


There are so many at my house in VA. They also really love the hibiscus trees in my yard (which I keep meaning to cut down because I think they’re hideous). I actually watched the stink bugs copulate on the hibiscus and was thinking “oh no, I hope these don’t like fruit trees…”

After reading your post, I went out and did a bit of reading.

My notes from the VA spray guide:

  1. They seem to do damage here starting “mid-june” to pomes and “fruit set onward” for stone fruit.
  2. They apparently have three generations one in “late may/early june”, one in August and one “after harvest”
  3. The spray requirements to kill them seem enormous and harmful to beneficial insects. (weekly pyrethroid - every other row or on perimeter - recommended for large orchards. Not sure how this translates to smaller/medium sized orchards)
    3b. the guide suggests not taking action until you trap 10 of them.
  4. The last year (2022 and 2023) has been better in VA with less bmsb detected and there is a wasp predator of them that has been detected.
  5. They overwinter in nearby forest with dead trees as well as in homes.

They have some “look-alikes”: Look-Alike Insects -

Also, here is a handout on the brown marmorated stink bug that I thought was pretty good:
BMSB-in-Orchard-Crops-English.pdf (5.2 MB)


That is a great pdf, thanks for sharing.

I think the wasp enemy is parasitic rather than predatory. Can Wasps Squash The Stink Bug Plague? : NPR

Although, apparently yellow jackets will eat them too:


The white antenna and leg segments are quite distinctive for the BMSB species and are visible even at the very small nymph stage.