Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Thrasher Termite & Pest Control handles a lot of pests, but the brown marmorated stink bug is a challenge even for us. This stink bug is a nuisance and threat to U.S. agriculture and ornamental plants. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is a voracious eater that damages fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops in North America. With funding from USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a team of more than 50 researchers is uncovering the pest’s secrets to find management solutions for growers, seeking strategies that will protect our food, our environment, and our farms.

UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources describes why the BMSB is a nuisance in residential areas:

In many home landscape situations the greatest concern may be the movement of brown marmorated stink bugs into buildings as they congregate in late summer and early fall and seek safe overwintering sites. Once inside buildings they can become a nuisance and emit an offensive odor if disturbed or crushed. During the winter months, the adults do not reproduce and feeding, if any, is minimal. They seek out narrow spaces to hide indoors, including cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings; and they prefer high and cool locations. In the spring, adults move from overwintering sites to host plants.

These bugs are harmless to people: they don’t sting or suck blood, but they do smell when squished.The simplest way to rid your home of stink bugs is to exclude them by securing window screens and other openings. Once stink bugs are inside, they can be vacuumed up or you can make a simple stink bug trap with desk lamp, foil pan, water and dish soap.

In the garden, there are very few ways to combat these pests. Some people suggest row covers for plants, but this is a less than ideal solution for most home gardens. Others recommend hand picking. Pheromone traps tend to attract BMSBs to your yard and may increase the problem. Garden insecticides are not very effective against adult stink bugs.

California residents are advised to report sightings of the BMSB to the local UC Agricultural Extension office or to the County Agricultural Commissioner.