Invasive stinkbug found in Minnesota
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 09/20/2012 9:44 AM
ST. PAUL – There's another invasive species to be watching for.
The brown marmorated stink bug has been found in Ramsey, Anoka, Washington, Winona, Hennepin, Chisago and Carver counties since first being detected in Minnesota in November 2010. All were house invaders.
University of Minnesota Extension educators were raising awareness of the pest at their Farmfest tent.
Extension educator Gary Wyatt said the pest is native to Asia and has spread to 36 states since it was first found in the United States in the mid-1990s. Native stink bugs don't enter houses.
There are 50 to 60 native stink bug species in Minnesota, and some of those look similar to the brown marmorated stink bug. The distinguishing characteristic of the BMSB is the marks on the antenna. Its' dark antennae has light-colored bands.
"It seems like this brown marmorated stink bug, if it does become a populated insect in Minnesota and become an economic problem, could cause more economical damage than emerald ash borer or other invasive species because it does affect more money-making or money-producing crops in
Minnesota," Wyatt said.
Brown marmorated stink bugs aren't too picky, said Bob Koch, an entomologist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. It can damage corn, soybeans and various fruit and vegetable crops, includes apples and grapes.
While there have been no outbreaks of brown marmorated stink bugs in Minnesota, there have been in other states. In 2010, the apple industry in the mid-Atlantic suffered 20 percent to 80 percent losses as a result of an outbreak. Losses were estimated at $37 million.
In 2011, they weren't as many reports of brown marmorated stink bug damage. In 2012 there have been reports of problems in some places, Koch said.
In eastern states, the invasive stink bugs have poured into houses through cracks and crevasses, similar to how Asian lady beetles and box elder bugs invade Minnesota houses. When present in low numbers, stink bugs can be disposed of in soapy water. Larger infestations may require professional pest control.
There's a lot of work going on right now to find natural predators.
Researchers have gone over to Asia to see what attacks the stink bugs there. Some parasitic wasps were found and federal research is ongoing to make sure the wasps only feed on the stink bug and are effective at suspending the population. They don't want to create another problem, Koch said. Research is also underway at the University of Minnesota on management options for the BMSB.
There are insecticides that are effective at controlling brown marmorated stink bugs, but multiple applications may be required, he said.
Both Wyatt and Koch say people shouldn't worry about the brown marmorated stink bug now, but rather be on the lookout for the invasive pest and call the Arrest the Pest hotline if they spy a suspicious stink bug. The hotline number is 651-201-6684 or 1-888-545-6684.
The brown marmorated stink bug was likely introduced unintentionally, Koch said.