Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Maya Nagar, Journalist

     Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species that feed on fruit, vegetables, and more. In addition to that, they also tend to invade homes. These stink bugs are usually attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days looking for protected overwintering areas. They enter houses in large numbers.

     Brown marmorated stink bugs were accidentally introduced by East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) into Eastern Pennsylvania. They were first collected in Allentown in 1998 but probably arrived several years earlier than that. When they arrived, the stink bugs spread through most of the East and West of North America and will likely be found continent-wide in a couple of years.

     These stink bugs have features that can be easily spotted. They are usually around 17 mm and can come in different shades of brown. But the legs, head, and thorax are black. They have lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous, that overlap at the rear of the front pair of wings. Adding onto that, they also have coppery or bluish-metallic colored small rounded depressions on their head and pronotum. They also have scent glands that produce a nasty stench and have deep red eyes.

     They typically feast on fruits and leave spongy areas and internal tissue damage to the fruit. With beans and okra, they leave scarred, sunken areas that make all this food unsellable. This can lead to fewer fruits and other food products in grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Brown marmorated stink bugs can also harm humans too. The scent glands can lead to an allergic reaction because of the odor produced. When these stink bugs invade a person’s home, the homeowner would have to locate the openings where the stink bugs hide and spray them with bug spray. After that, they would have to seal up the openings with caulk or some other sealant. Mechanical exclusion is also another way to get rid of this invasive species and is known to be the best way to prevent it in homes.

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