OHIO VALLEY — Homeowners, have large (nickel sized) brownish insects been flying around windows and doorways looking to get inside homes? The pest, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), is a non-native pest from China, Japan, and Korean that was discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1996. It has spread westward into southern Indiana. The bug is five eighths inches long and three eighths inches wide with white and brown banding on its body’s edge, legs and antennae.
The brown stink bugs feeds on fruits and seed pods. OSU Extension factsheet, FS 3824, “Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” on www.ohioline.osu.edu, states its favorite plants include such plants as apple, peach, corn, soybean, green beans, pepper, paulownia (empress tree), redbud, butterfly bush, maple, sweet gum and many others. It feeds by sucking on the plant juices with its beak (straw-like mouth parts) causing substantial damage to peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn and other fruit.
The life cycle of the bug is that they overwinter as adults in a protected spot (house, garage, cave, hollow tree). They emerge in the Spring in early May. They feed, mate and lays eggs on the under side of leaves. Each female can lay up to 400 eggs over the summer, in clusters of 25 eggs. The young bug (instar) emerges and starts to feed.
It takes five stages of growth spurts to occur over the next couple months before they are full grown. They mature just in time to congregate to find places to hide out in to overwinter. Rutgers University suggests that you do your best to prevent them from entering your home. Placement of screens over windows, doors and vents, removal of window air conditioners and caulking cracks in windows and door frames will deter the adults from entering. Removal of window air conditioners is important, as numerous Brown Marmorated stink bugs will enter this way.
If small numbers occur indoors, they can be removed either by hand or by using a vacuum with disposable bag. Dropping adult bugs in soapy water effectively kills the bugs If large numbers are observed or have been observed in previous years, you may wish to contact your local pest control company who can do a perimeter pesticide spray.
This must be done at the appropriate time (when the insects first appear) and control may still be difficult to achieve. Do not spray inside your home. Homeowners wanting to spray outside need to use pyrethoids sprays that are labeled for controlling stinkbugs. Check out insecticides with the active ingredients lambda-cyhalothrin and cyfluthrin. Follow label directions when applying pesticides..
Current research has not confirmed any harm from these stinkbugs to humans. They are not able to bite humans, spread a human disease or cause a health problem but are just a hassle.
Information is being gathered throughout the country to register the spread of the bug into new areas. Ohio State University and other Midwest states have been conducting research this summer as to their numbers, life cycle and damage by trapping the stinkbugs throughout the season using pheromone and black light traps.
We have noticed them in the Middleport, Syracuse and Pomeroy regions. Call my office at 992-6696 if you have them present in areas outside of these regions.
Gardeners, remember to attend the fall plant exchange on Oct. 5 at 12:30 p.m. at Dave Diles Park (old train station) in Middleport next to Family Dollar. Share your excess plants, seeds and bulbs with the community. OSU Master Gardeners, Ohio State University Extension and Middleport Community Association have joined together again his year to sponsor this free event. The Middleport Community will be having their luncheon fund raising event (donation $5) starting at 11:00 a.m. until 1 p.m.. Gardening tips on “Planting Bulbs For Spring” and “Growing Perennials” will be discussed while people are enjoying lunch. If you are not able to bring plants to exchange you are still welcome to participate as there has always been ample plants for all. Whether it is raining or the sun is shining this event we be held. There is plenty of shelter. The public is welcome.
Hal Kneen is the Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Educator, Meigs & Scioto Counties, Ohio State University Extension.