Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs


Oregon has a new pest in town: the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Stink bugs aren’t new to the Northwest, but BMSB (Halyomorpha halys) was first identified in Oregon in 2004 and its territory is now growing (see the results of an OSU 2012 survey here). Native to Korea and Taiwan, it first arrived in the US in the mid-Atlantic states in the late 1990s and is now causing damage to fruit and vegetable crops in several states. Considered an agricultural pest, Oregon’s breadth of commercial crops makes BMSB a pest that could cause substantial economic harm to the state, though none has been reported to date. 
 Photo: Oregon State University
BMSBs (on the right in the above photo) can easily be mistaken for our native stink bugs (on the left). Key identifying characteristics of the BMSB include the two light bands on the dark antennae (the most reliable identifier), smooth “shoulders” and abdominal margins with a distinct banding pattern. “Marmorated” refers to the color pattern of the insect, which vaguely resembles marble. Oregon State University’s websitedescribes the life cycle of BMSB.
Home gardeners can play a role in helping the state manage the spread of this foreign pest. If you see a BMSB, please consider reporting it to OSU so they can track populations. OSU also needs help capturing live specimens. Put the bugs in a ventilated container such as a jar with a hole punched in the lid. Keep the container cool and away from direct sun and the bugs will stay healthy for a few days. Please review the identification guide before reporting. If you can email clear photos, the confirmation can be done electronically. Please make the following observations in your report email if applicable:
1. Time and date of sighting.
2. Habitat (agricultural, urban, natural).
3. Host plant (ornamental, weedy, crop).
4. Approximate number of BMSB.
5. Your contact information.
6. Send reports or identification questions to: BMSB@oregonstate.edu
 Photo: Oregon State University

For your own garden, pheromone traps can catch some of the bugs. Hand-picking them is also an option as is using crop covers to protect your fruits and vegetables. See garden expert Claudia Groth talk about the pest here on GardenTime.tv.