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US: Report marmorated stink bugs

The brown marmorated stink bug really does stink, but the feared impact of its continued invasion goes much further than olfactory repugnance.

“There is a major concern over the damage that the brown marmorated stink bug could do to our agricultural production,” said Mary Gerstenberger, a consumer horticulture educator with the Michigan State University Extension in Macomb County.



According to a bulletin posted on Sept. 30 by Diane Brown, an extension educator for consumer horticulture and commercial fruit with the MSU Extension in Ingham County, brown marmorated stink bugs are exotic pests native to Asia that have been responsible for damaging ornamental plants and a wide variety of high-value, specialty agricultural crops grown in Michigan. The list of crops susceptible to damage from brown marmorated stink bugs includes tomatoes, sweet peppers, corn, soybeans, apples, raspberries, peaches, pears and cherries.

“I think one of the most important things to know is that they have a very wide host range — probably 300 different plants,” Brown said. “And if they’re in your house, they don’t bite. They don’t lay eggs in your house. They’re basically just looking for a place to overwinter.”

The first brown marmorated stink bug specimen was captured in the United States in 1999 with an insect trap in New Jersey managed by Rutgers University. Brown marmorated stink bugs have since been identified in 29 states, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region, but also including areas of Oregon and southern California.

Brown marmorated stink bugs were positively identified in Ohio in 2007; in Illinois in 2009; and in the state of Michigan five years ago, in the fall of 2010. Experts say that distribution likely is wider than reported, as has been the case with other invasive species.

Suspected brown marmorated stink bugs can be sent to the local MSU Extension office for identification or mailed directly to Michigan State University Diagnostic Services, 101 Center for Integrated Plant Systems, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Specimens should be placed in a dry box with tissue paper or in a small, leak-proof vial containing white vinegar.

Commercial growers, residential gardeners and homeowners who positively identify stink bugs are encouraged to report sightings online through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network’s website at www.misin.msu.edu/report.

Source: C&G Newspapers

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