The editors of Hudson Valley Magazine are no strangers to stink bugs — they seem to pop up everywhere. (If only they had editing skills.) Here’s a tongue-in-cheek lowdown on this invasive species (information courtesy of Cornell Univeristy Cooperative Extension’s Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Project), and what you can do about it.
Halyomorpha halys, Bugsy Smellone, The Big Cheese, Reek Dogg, Stench Bomber
Adult is about ½ to ¾ of an inch long with shades of brown covering the upper body, which is “shield-shaped” and almost as wide as it is long. Looks similar to native U.S. stink bug species but can most easily be differentiated by light bands on the antennae and dark bands on the rear of the front pair of wings; small rounded depressions on the head that are coppery or metallic blue.
“Born to stink” on rear of thorax. “You smelt it, you dealt it” on lower abdomen.
Considered armed and stinky. Scent glands found on abdomen and underside of the thorax. If body is crushed, exudes a foul odor.
The brown marmorated stink bug is the culprit in numerous offenses against U.S. fruit and vegetable crops. Its method of operation is to pierce the surface of fruit and vegetables and suck out the juice. While doing so, it injects saliva, which eventually causes the fruit/vegetables to rot in these spots or leaves them unsalable due to the dimpled appearance. Seems to prefer fruit, but has also been known to attack soy beans, lima beans, and sweet corn.
Believed to have been accidentally introduced in the United States from China or Japan, where it is native. First found in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1998; officially documented there in 2001. Now found throughout much of the East Coast, and in Oregon and California. Although first documented in New York State in the Hudson Valley area in 2008, crop damage has not yet been found. Its range and distribution in New York is not known, but sightings increased last year. The Valley could be the leading edge of its burgeoning population. The pest seeks shelter during winter and often finds its way into homes through very tiny openings. Also shelters under house siding. Releases foul smell if crushed or handled roughly.
Join the cause!
The Eastern NY-Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Project is asking for your help in tracking the distribution of this Public Enemy Smells-Like-Number 2. The project requests that residents submit specimens found in homes or lawns believed to be the brown marmorated stink bug. Place live or dead specimens in a small plastic container, such as a pill bottle or film canister. Fill out and print the form at http://snipurl.com/27qxp9 (PDF). Form should be thoroughly completed. Mail sample and form to:
Attn: Peter Jentsch, BMSB Project
Cornell Hudson Valley Lab
P.O. Box 727
Highland, NY 12528
Specimens will not be returned, but the BMSB project will let you know whether yours was actually a brown marmorated stink bug. Live bugs will be added to a research colony maintained by the project for study. For more information, visit http://hudsonvf.cce.cornell.edu/bmsb1.html.