By Forrest Scharf PAg., Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops, Regina
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) (Halyomorpha halys) is a new invasive insect pest causing concern throughout many fruit-growing regions of Canada. Saskatchewan residents often identify other types of stink bug (like the green stinkbug pictured) and become concerned, but BMSB has not been confirmed in Saskatchewan to date.
It is native to China, Japan and the Korean peninsula, and is suspected to have been introduced to North America from Asia in the late-1990s. Since that time it has spread to many other regions within North America and Europe, and is often reported as a household nuisance due to its habit of seeking shelter in the fall. The insects feed on and cause tissue damage to fruit, and by 2010 were reported to have caused significant economic damage ($35+M USD) to fruit crops in the United States. The insects also feed on many different cultivated crops including soy and are distinguished from other stink bugs by the white banding on their antennae and legs, as well as by the marbled (marmorated) brown colouring of adults.
The insect goes through five nymph instars before it becomes an adult. Adults can move around the environment extensively. In Canada, established breeding populations were initially detected in Hamilton, Ont. in 2010, and by 2016 they were also found in British Columbia. It has not been officially detected in Saskatchewan or other prairie provinces to date, although a few suspected sightings have been reported in recent years.
The Canadian Horticulture Council and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) have spearheaded the creation of a working group to help study and spread information about this pest within Canada and to develop Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, to help control the insect.
BASF, along with Fruit and Vegetable magazine, were kind enough to sponsor a webinar featuring OMAFRA entomologist Hannah Fraser and Dr. Cynthia Scott-Dupree from the University of Guelph, to provide extensive knowledge about this pest. Fruit growers interested or concerned about BMSB are encouraged to view the webinar and visit Stop BMSB to access more information.