More and more people are meeting one of our most recent invasive pests, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). It had spread to at least 29 states since it was introduced in a shipment to eastern PA sometime during the 1990s. They were first collected in Allentown, PA, in 1998.
BMSBs are a major agricultural pest in Asia, feeding on fruit crops and their population in the US has reached numbers to make it a real problem to American orchardists, too. They don’t eat entire fruits or even make them inedible. They disfigure hundreds of individual fruits – like apples – so that they cannot be marketed for fresh fruit sale. Instead these apples and other fruits can only be used for cider or juice.
- Adult BMSB
Now that spring has arrived (in most of the country, anyway) we will be seeing more adult stink bugs waking up from hibernation in our homes. Our family flushes all that we find so they don’t stink up our vacuum cleaner! I have been wondering, lately, if they could be used for anything else…say a food source for something. I happened upon a forum today with some interesting ideas for “disposing” of BMSBs. Here’s the link: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pagard/msg101628188305.html
; the discussion thread is called “Fun Organic way to Deal with Pesky Brown Stink Bugs.” I particularly like that one person’s pet turtle loves them! I’m considering catching some in a jar, freezing them and feeding them to our chickens. I’ll let you know if they eat them!
In addition to waking up from hibernation, BMSBs will also be reproducing soon. Here’s a photo from the Penn State Cooperative Extension, York County of stink bug eggs and the hatched larvae:
- BMSB eggs and larvae
The Penn State department of Entomology describes the eggs as, “elliptical (1.6 x 1.3 mm), light yellow to yellow-red with minute spines forming fine lines. They are attached, side-by-side, to the underside of leaves in masses of 20 to 30 eggs.” The adults reproduce from May to August and produce one generation per year in Pennsylvania , depending on the temperatures. Here is an image of BMSB nymphs
- BMSB Nymphs
If we educate ourselves to the different stage of the BMSB, we can work at reducing their numbers – from egg stage to adult!