Brown marmorated stink bug, where are you now?

Hannah Fraser, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Ministry of Rural Affairs, Tara Gariepy, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Cynthia Scott-Dupree, University of Guelph

Figure 1: BMSB adult
Figure 1: BMSB adult

During surveys conducted in 2012/2013*, the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was confirmed as established in the City of Hamilton and in Newboro (Leeds and Grenville County), ON.  By “established”, we mean both adults and immature life stages have been identified at these locations, indicating there is a reproducing population.  In both cases, finds of adults (Figure 1) and nymphs (Figure 2) came following at least two years of confirmed homeowner reports in the area.  In addition, we have also trapped BMSB adults at farms near Cedar Springs and Waterdown.  Although BMSB was not identified in the crops at either location, there were multiple adults captured over several weeks, indicating the pest is probably established nearby (likely at low population densities).  In the case of Cedar Springs, an adult was found at a homeowner site (indoors) earlier in the year, and of course, Waterdown is very close to known areas of infestation in Hamilton.

Figure 2: BMSB nymph (Photo credit: Gary Bernon, USDA)
Figure 2: BMSB nymph (Photo credit: Gary Bernon, USDA)

What this means is that homeowner finds, especially multiple finds and at multiple locations in an area, need to taken seriously.  BMSB adults move indoors in the fall to overwinter.  While most may go unnoticed in unfinished spaces such as attics, some make their way into living spaces where they are easily detected.  To date, there have been confirmed homeowner finds in Hamilton (2010), Burlington (2012), Cedar Springs (2013), Milton, Newboro (2012), Toronto (2012), Vaughan (2013), Windsor (2013), Niagara-on-the Lake (September 2013), London (October 2013), Kincardine (November 2013), Paris (January 2014), Fort Erie (February 2014), Stoney Creek (February 2014), and most recently Ottawa (March 2014).  In order to confirm homeowner finds of BMSB in a new area, we require an actual specimen (for example, we received photos of BMSB from Niagara Falls but without an actual specimen, this cannot be added to our list); after we’ve received a few specimens, quality photos can be used to help track local abundance.  Early detection is critical in mitigating economic injury to crops, and obviously we will follow up with surveys near these finds in 2014.

BMSB adults will start moving out of their overwintering sites soon; in 2013, the first adults were spotted mid-June.  Nymphs will appear several weeks later.

If you think you have found BMSB, please let us know so we can add new areas to the distribution map.  Call the Agriculture Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or send an email to ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.  For more information and updates specific to Ontario, visit www.ontario.ca/stinkbug.  Details on the biology and management of BMSB, including an excellent video series, can be found at www.stopBMSB.org.

* Funding for the project “Assessment of the Distribution and Natural Enemies of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Southern ON” through the OMAF / MRA University of Guelph Partnership Agreement – Emergency Management Theme (2013-14), and financial support from the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Apple Growers, the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers, the Niagara Peninsula Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association, and the Grape Growers of Ontario.

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