Is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Coming Your Way?  

By Chris Williams on August 28, 2014.
stink bug

Brown marmorated stink bug

seed bug

Western conifer seed bug

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB, for short) was first detected in the U.S. in 1990. Ever since, it has been spreading east across the country and north into New England and is now found in almost every state in the nation.

It was first found in Massachusetts in 2007 and has since appeared in several counties. In 2013, Massachusetts researchers were conducting pheromone trapping programs in more than 20 sites in the state. In New Hampshire, the stinkbugs had been confirmed in 17 towns/cities as of early spring 2014.

This Fruit Pest is Also a Household Pest

Maybe you don’t need to care about the impending stink bug invasion, unless you’re a fruit grower. In their real life, brown marmorated stink bugs feed on fruit trees and some other crops. But in the fall, they become household pests instead as they sneak into homes and other buildings to spend the winter.

In the Mid-Atlantic states, where the bug has been decimating crops for a few years now, there can be hundreds climbing up the walls of homes in late August or early September looking for a way inside. In New Hampshire, as of early 2014, the stinkbugs have not been found on crops and have caused nuisance problems in only one neighborhood in Portsmouth. But by all reckoning, New England’s turn is coming.

Stink Bug or Seed Bug?

There is another distantly related bug that also tries to get into our homes in the fall, the western conifer seed bug. It looks quite a bit like the stinkbug in shape and coloration but is more elongated and has distinctive, flattened leaf-shape extensions on its back legs. The western conifer seed bug feeds outside on the seeds and cones of conifers, but like the stinkbug, it moves into homes in the fall seeking protection (see “Western Conifer Seed Bug: Q & A.”)

How to Keep Fall Invading Insects Out

The brown marmorated stink bug and the western conifer seed bug are only two of the various insect pests that we call “fall invaders” because they become pests indoors only when the weather turns cooler. Other outdoor insects that move inside, sometimes in large numbers, are Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, elm leaf beetles, clover mites, and paper wasps.

For information on how to keep fall invaders out, check these links:

Stink bug: By Lildobe [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Seed bug: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Source


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