[Market-farming] Brown Marmurated Stink Bug

Pam Twin Oaks pam at twinoaks.org
Sun Apr 17 15:08:24 EDT 2011

Harriet and others

I am on an Organic Task Force working on dealing with the BMSB. I don't know
much as yet (we had the beasts in small numbers last year, but I've heard
horror stories from those with more of them). Here's some information Ted
Rogers and I put together while I was working on something to say about them
for my upcoming article on cucumbers in Growing For Market. The editor, Lynn
Byczynski, has also been working on an article about the BMSB. Researchers
and farmers are working hard to find organic solutions (even chemical
solutions are few), and news changes daily, so get on the website and stay

'The Brown Marmurated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive species that is
emerging as a serious problem.  It is thought that it arrived on the East
Coast from Asia and has been officially documented as present in 30 states.
It has over 300 host species, causes tremendous damage, and so far, has no
reliable methods of control, organic or otherwise. Tracy Leskey at the
Agricultural Research Station of USDA at Kearneysville, WV has done a lot of
work over the last two years. See http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/74527.
After the pictures of ruined apples are two pages on the Apparent Biology
and Phenology of BMSB. Rutgers also has a 2-page factsheet at their website
http://njaes.rutgers.edu/stinkbug/.  It will have two or more generations
per year from the mid-Atlantic region South.

There is an Organic Task Force collecting information on potential organic
approaches to management of this bug, and planning formal research.
Contact Ted Rogers Ted.Rogers at ARS.USDA.GOV to join the task force, email and
phone number please. An interactive website has been set up as part of the
future research.  The web site was set up by Matt Grieshop who runs the
organic pest management program at Michigan State.  Also working with Matt
as a postdoctoral researcher is Anne Nielsen whose Doctorate was written on
BMSB at Rutgers. Go to http://www.bmsb.opm.msu.edu/ and click on the Grower
Forum where farmers are posting thoughts on various threads for dealing with
this problem. Researchers are asking growers for specimens, locations, and
information on crops damaged and crops unaffected. Sample monitoring plans
are being designed and posted on the web site, for growers wanting to help
with the research.

 BMSB feeds on almost any fruit or podded crop: tree fruit, berries,
tomatoes, peppers, okra, cucurbits and all legumes including soy.  This true
bug releases an aggregation pheromone (especially in the fall) which causes
adults to gather together in buildings and other protected places to
over-winter. The aggregation pheromone of this particular stink bug is being
isolated in a USDA laboratory now and may be comercially available for use
in the 2012 growing season. Until that is ready, some success can be
achieved using other stink bug aggregation pheromones, especially in the
fall. Pheromones are relatively expensive.

Low-cost tactics to try this year include parthenocarpic (I do not remember
this being mentioned - check on it) varieties, row covers when that is
feasible, caterpillar tunnels or hoophouses with screen doors and enclosed
bee colonies. Possibly there is a netting with holes small enough to keep
BMSB out, but large enough to let pollinators in. It would need to be on
hoops or structures to keep BMSB from reaching the crop for eating or
egg-laying. Surround kaolin clay sprayed early and often has shown some
success in the pome fruits. The company is offering samples for on-farm

Russ Mizell (FL) has published a paper on trap cropping for native stink
bugs in the south:
He recommended buckwheat, triticale, sunflower, millet, field pea, and
sorghum for native stink bugs. A succession of trap crops including these
and others such as pumpkins, cowpeas, and other small grains (which are most
attractive in the milk or soft dough stage) could help. Flaming the trap
crops is likely to work well. Trap crops only work if they are more
attractive than the crop.

Predatory stink bugs, assasin bugs, spined soldier bugs and two native egg
parasitoids will reduce the BMSB numbers, but do not give adequate control.
Several egg parasitoids from China may be released from quarantine in the
US, in 2013 at the earliest, to tackle the pest. BMSB are attracted to
yellow, and to corrugated cardboard. Chickens and preying mantis seem to
lose interest after a few bites. Hogs will eat them. There are concerns that
the flavor of the stink bugs may carry through to milk, meat, eggs, wine and
soy products, either from ingested bugs or insect parts mixed in with the
crop.  Soapy water will kill the nymphs. One spraying killed about two
thirds of the adult bugs in one study. Other studies found soaps

Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks, Louisa, Virginia, zone 7
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