Brown marmorated stink bugs have a shield‐shaped body that is characteristic of all stink bugs. The adults are approximately 15 mm – 17 mm long with a mottled brownish grey color. The next to last antennal segment has a white band and several of the abdominal segments protrude from beneath the wings and are alternatively banded with black and white. The underside is white, sometimes with grey or black markings, and the legs are brown with faint white banding.
Stinkbugs has a wide host range that includes many fruits (apple, peaches, grape, caneberries), vegetables (tomato, pepper, bean, cucurbits, sweet corn), field crops (corn, soybeans, and probably cotton), and numerous ornamental plants including, but not limited to, butterfly bush, empress tree, maple, dogwood, crabapple, hawthorn, elm, sycamore and serviceberry.
Life Cycle: Brown marmorated stink bugs overwinters in the adult stage. While adults are known to aggregate near and enter homes and other dwellings in the fall, the importance of various outdoor habitats as overwintering sites is unknown, although woodlands are known overwintering sites. Adults begin to emerge in the spring and migrate from overwintering sites to nearby host plants, where they mate, and then lay eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves. Adult emergence and egg laying in western NC is expected to occur during April and May.
Following the hatch of nymphs from eggs, young nymphs remain near egg masses from which they hatched, and not until they molt to the second instar will they disperse to feed on plant tissue. Nymphs complete five molts, increasing in size with each successive molt, before adults with fully developed wings apperar. Based on knowledge of the developmental rate of Brown marmorated stink bugs, it is estimated that first generation adults will emerge during late June to July, with a second generation of nymphs appearing in July and August, and the second generation of adults emerging during August and September.
Damages: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, as with all true bugs, sucks plant juices with the proboscis. During feeding, digestive enzymes kill surrounding cells, resulting in necrotic areas around the feeding site. This species has an extremely wide host range, with documented hosts including apples, peaches, citrus fruits, figs, mulberries, persimmons, blackberry, wine grapes, field corn, sweet corn, ornamental plants, soybeans, tomatoes, lima beans, green peppers, as well as various trees, woody shrubs and weeds. A full list of hosts of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is reported in a pest risk report by the USDA-APHIS-PPQ. Because of its overwintering habit, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is also known for being a nuisance pest in areas of the U.S. where it is well established, with complaints com monly reported by homeowners, hotel and conference center operators, schools, businesses and managers of public buildings.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug damage in corn can cause failure of kernels to develop, and damage caused to soybeans can lead to delayed senescence and pod discoloration and distortion. Research is underway to develop a better understanding of how Brown Marmorated Stink Bug damages soybeans and if thresholds should differ from those used for native stink bug species. Preliminary research and observations in Maryland show that Brown Marmorated Stink Bug exhibits a strong edge-effect pattern in soybean fields – a characteristic that could be exploited in future management programs. The presence of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in soybeans should be determined by visual observations or sampling with a sweepnet, the latter of which is the most common method of sampling soybeans.
Control: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) adults primarily overwinter inside protected shelters. Placement of screens over windows, doors and vents, removal of window air conditioners and caulking cracks in windows and doorframes will deter the adults from entering. Removal of window air conditioners is important, as numerous BMSB will enter this way. If small numbers occur indoors, they can be removed either by hand or by using a shop-vacuum.
If large numbers are observed or have been observed in previous years, you may wish to contact your local pest control company .