Hannah Fraser, Entomology Program Lead (Hort) and Denise Beaton, Crop Protection Program Lead, OMAF and MRA
The first official detection of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) in Ontario resulted from a homeowner find in Hamilton during the fall of 2010. Since that time, there have been over 90 confirmed reports from homeowners in urban locations, and an established breeding population was identified in the Hamilton area in the summer of 2012. The majority of the finds occurred in Hamilton / Burlington in the fall 2012 and winter 2013 (adults move indoors in the fall to overwinter), but BMSB have also shown up in parts of the Greater Toronto Area, Newboro, Windsor, and most recently at a farm located in Cedar Springs (indoors). As public awareness about BMSB increases, there will most likely be additional finds and reporting in Ontario.
Early detection is critical for limiting damage from BMSB. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and MRA), together with the University of Guelph (Dr. Cynthia Scott-Dupree) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Dr. Tara Gariepy), will be conducting surveys across southern Ontario in 2013 and 2014. These surveys will assess the distribution and abundance of BMSB; identify habitats suitable for BMSB build-up and associated agricultural areas at high risk for damage; and develop an inventory of BMSB natural enemies.
BMSB has a wide host range that includes agricultural crops such as tree fruit / nuts, small fruit, grapes, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, soybeans, grain crops and ornamentals. However, it will also feed and reproduce on many deciduous trees and shrubs commonly found in the landscape (Catalpa, Maple, Ash, Tree-of-Heaven, Lilac, Buckthorn, etc.) allowing numbers to build up in unmanaged areas. As BMSB moves between hosts during the season, this can create a risk to nearby crops. BMSB is often observed first at crop edges bordering woods, so be sure to include these areas when monitoring for other pests. Infestations can occur between June and September.
While BMSB has not been identified in any agricultural crops in Ontario to date, growers should be on the look-out for their activity both indoors (overwintering adults) and outdoors (on crops and landscape plants). Early signs of infestation and crop injury have been missed in other areas. There are several insecticides registered for control or suppression of BMSB in Canada (Lannate, Malathion, Clutch and Actara), however the labels do not cover all of the susceptible crops. Thresholds for BMSB have not been established in the US, but as each feeding probe causes injury, there is very little tolerance in horticultural crops. For updates on BMSB pest management research efforts, visit www.stopbmsb.org.
Visit the OMAF and MRA website for more information and tips on how to distinguish BMSB from other stink bugs and similar-looking insects at www.ontario.ca/stinkbug. We are encouraging everyone to report suspect BMSB to the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (email email@example.com or 1-877-424-1300). The best way to preserve specimens, and to prevent them from being crushed, is to place them in a small container with rubbing alcohol or vinegar. Good quality digital photos, showing key features such as the two white bands on each antenna, can also be useful for identifying BMSB.
Funding for this project was obtained through the OMAF and MRA / University of Guelph Partnership – Emergency Management Theme 2013/2014, with financial support from the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Apple Growers, the Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, the Tender Fruit Producers and the Grape Growers of Ontario.