Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Attracted to Mature Fruit

Brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) are native to Asia and were first found in the U.S. in 1998.  In its native range, it has multiple generations per year, but it hasn't been found to have more than one generation per year in the U.S., though it could have more than one in the southern states.  It is considered to be a destructive agricultural and home pest.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) by David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

They feed on leaves and fruit of a wide variety of crop, horticultural, and ornamental plants, totaling over 120 species. This is of particular concern to plants grown as crops, as the feeding sites become necrotic and damage the fruit making it unmarketable.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) feeding on peach (Prunus persica) by Gary Bernon, USDA APHIS, Bugwood.org

Researchers have studied these insects to discover ways of controlling them and reducing the damage that they cause to food and structures.  A study conducted on the feeding habits of these bugs show that they are highly preferential to attacking plants which have mature fruit on them.  By removing the fruit from the trees, the bugs almost entirely disappeared from those trees.  This indicates that the bugs could be drastically reduced in areas that choose varieties in which the fruit matures outside of the feeding period of the bug or varieties which are non-fruit bearing, especially for ornamental plantings.  These bugs are known for their attraction to homes as overwintering locations, and the ornamental plantings around home provide food for them in the spring and fall.  By planting species that don't fruit at those times, or at all, the bugs also won't be attracted to the structure as an overwintering location.

Source Article: Stink bugs have strong taste for ripe fruit
BMSB Images: Halyomorpha halys
BMSB BugwoodWiki: Halyomorpha halys
BMSB Distribution Map: Halyomorpha halys