Environmental Outlook: Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) nymphs, first instar, cluster around a mass of newly-hatched eggs on the underside of a leaf.  - Photo by W. Hershberger

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) nymphs, first instar, cluster around a mass of newly-hatched eggs on the underside of a leaf.

Photo by W. Hershberger

Environmental Outlook: Stink Bugs

The brown marmorated stink bug tops the USDA's list of most invasive insects. Since arriving on the East Coast aboard a ship from Asia, they've spread to 40 states and threaten billions of dollars in crops. In this month's Environmental Outlook, we look at the biology and ecology of stink bugs and efforts to control their invasion.

Scientists are warning farmers and homeowners to gear up for battle with the invasive insect known as the brown marmorated stink bug. The number of adult bugs overwintering increased 60 percent in late 2012, and now they’re emerging to lay eggs. The shield-shaped, brown speckled insect probably arrived as a stowaway on a ship from Asia. First seen in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, it’s since been spotted in 40 states. Stink bugs get their name from the pungent smell emitted when they are frightened or crushed. For this month’s Environmental Outlook, entomologists reveal the secrets of stink bugs and talk about the search for sustainable methods of control.

Guests

Tracy Leskey

research entomologist at the USDA-ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station.

Michael Raupp

entomology professor and extension specialist at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Where Are The Stink Bugs, State-by-State?

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been detected in 40 states, posing severe agricultural problems in six states and nuisance problems in thirteen others. Click to find state-specific resources, contact information and news, or to report a sighting of BMSB.

Stink bug map

How To Keep Stink Bugs Out Of Your House

Mike Raupp, the "bug guy" for the University of Maryland, shows the best ways to keep the infamous brown marmorated stink bug from invading your home.

Tracking The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

How to identify BMSB, why this pest is important in agriculture and what's at stake if they're not stopped. Several insects look similar to BMSB, including the Spined soldier bug, Green stink bug and Boxelder bug. See photos of similar-looking bugs.

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