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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marmorated Stinkbug Info

Thanks to Pam Dawling of Twin Oaks Community for this information

'The Brown Marmurated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive species that is emerging as a serious problem.  It is thought that it arrived on the East Coast from Asia and has been officially documented as present in 30 states. It has over 300 host species, causes tremendous damage, and so far, has no reliable methods of control, organic or otherwise. Tracy Leskey at the Agricultural Research Station of USDA at Kearneysville, WV has done a lot of work over the last two years. See After the pictures of ruined apples are two pages on the Apparent Biology and Phenology of BMSB. Rutgers also has a 2-page factsheet at their website  It will have two or more generations per year from the mid-Atlantic region South.

There is an Organic Task Force collecting information on potential organic approaches to management of this bug, and planning formal research.   Contact Ted Rogers Ted.Rogers@ARS.USDA.GOV to join the task force, email and phone number please. An interactive website has been set up as part of the future research.  The web site was set up by Matt Grieshop who runs the organic pest management program at Michigan State.  Also working with Matt as a postdoctoral researcher is Anne Nielsen whose Doctorate was written on BMSB at Rutgers. Go to and click on the Grower Forum where farmers are posting thoughts on various threads for dealing with this problem. Researchers are asking growers for specimens, locations, and information on crops damaged and crops unaffected. Sample monitoring plans are being designed and posted on the web site, for growers wanting to help with the research.

BMSB feeds on almost any fruit or podded crop: tree fruit, berries, tomatoes, peppers, okra, cucurbits and all legumes including soy.  This true bug releases an aggregation pheromone (especially in the fall) which causes adults to gather together in buildings and other protected places to over-winter. The aggregation pheromone of this particular stink bug is being isolated in a USDA laboratory now and may be comercially available for use in the 2012 growing season. Until that is ready, some success can be achieved using other stink bug aggregation pheromones, especially in the fall. Pheromones are relatively expensive.

Low-cost tactics to try this year include parthenocarpic (I do not remember this being mentioned - check on it) varieties, row covers when that is feasible, caterpillar tunnels or hoophouses with screen doors and enclosed bee colonies. Possibly there is a netting with holes small enough to keep BMSB out, but large enough to let pollinators in. It would need to be on hoops or structures to keep BMSB from reaching the crop for eating or egg-laying. Surround kaolin clay sprayed early and often has shown some success in the pome fruits. The company is offering samples for on-farm trials.

Russ Mizell (FL) has published a paper on trap cropping for native stink bugs in the south: He recommended buckwheat, triticale, sunflower, millet, field pea, and sorghum for native stink bugs. A succession of trap crops including these and others such as pumpkins, cowpeas, and other small grains (which are most attractive in the milk or soft dough stage) could help. Flaming the trap crops is likely to work well. Trap crops only work if they are more attractive than the crop.

Predatory stink bugs, assasin bugs, spined soldier bugs and two native egg parasitoids will reduce the BMSB numbers, but do not give adequate control. Several egg parasitoids from China may be released from quarantine in the US, in 2013 at the earliest, to tackle the pest. BMSB are attracted to yellow, and to corrugated cardboard. Chickens and preying mantis seem to lose interest after a few bites. Hogs will eat them. There are concerns that the flavor of the stink bugs may carry through to milk, meat, eggs, wine and soy products, either from ingested bugs or insect parts mixed in with the crop.  Soapy water will kill the nymphs. One spraying killed about two thirds of the adult bugs in one study. Other studies found soaps ineffective."

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