Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål)

I. Introduction: A new addition to the stink bug complex is brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål).  Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has recently been introduced from Asia into the northeastern U.S.  It was first detected in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  It was later found in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, and in October 2004 it was found in Montgomery County, Virginia, and in Tennessee in 2008.  A collection of images has been posted on the web.   In its native region (China and other parts of Asia) it is a pest of fruits, vegetables and soybeans.  It may also invade houses in large numbers in the fall as it seeks overwintering sites.  In 2007, it was found for the first time in Europe (Switzerland), in high numbers in one infestation.  See NAPIS map, and the more up-to-date map in the StopBMSB web site.  It is currently found in 46 states and four Canadian provinces.   Natural enemies that normally attack stink bugs in this country, such as the egg parasitoid family Scelionidae, are not successful in establishing on BMSB.  Consequently, as it spreads in North America, there are few natural controls to suppress numbers.  Chemical control has been hampered by it ability to recover from initial paralysis induced by some insecticides, and the tendency of some effective materials to eliminate beneficial predators and parasitoids(For help in identifying stink bugs, see the Field guide to Stink Bugs of Economic Importance in the Upper Southern Region and Mid-Atlantic States)

II. Hosts: Like most stink bugs, BMSB has a wide host range.  It is important to consider the hosts on which bugs develop.  For example, brown stink bug (BSB), Euschistus servus, uses tree fruit for a feeding host for adults, but the nymphal stage is found elsewhere - on herbaceous hosts like soybean and weeds.  BMSB will use tree fruits and grapevines as reproductive hosts.  Therefore, injury is inflicted by all stages after the egg stage (except for the first instar nymph, which does not feed).

III. Description: This species is larger than the brown stink bug (BSB), about 3/4 inch long. The brown background contains tiny flecks of light color, and the antennae and legs possess white bands, unlike BSB.  There is also a pattern of alternating dark and white spots on the edges of the abdomen.  The nymph as a dark colored abdomen with red marking on the back.  The term "marmorated" refers to the marbled pattern of coloring, with flecks of white interspersed with the background of brown.

IV. Biology: This species is new to the mid-Atlantic area, and even some questions of basic biology need to be clarified.  In its native China, there are 2-6 generations.  It appear that there are two in our area, though workers in NJ thought it likely to have a single generation there.  BMSB has a host range of about 300 species.  Unlike some stink bugs, which use some fruit crops only as feeding hosts, undergoing nymphal development on herbaceous hosts like soybean and weeds, BMSB used tree fruits and grapevines as reproductive hosts, therefore nymphs cause feeding injury in addition to adults.  Adults overwinter in protected places, often invading houses in large numbers.  This is another aspect of its pest status, becoming a severe nuisance.  In New Jersey, it has been reported to now be the most abundant stink bug collected.  

V. Injury:  Injury in tree fruits can be severe, exceeding 25% (individual blocks have been estimated to have much higher levels of fruit injury).  Externally, fruit may have multiple reddish dents at feeding sites, resembling hail strikes.  Upon cutting into fruit, corky areas are seen in the flesh of the fruit (example 1: external, internalexample 2: external, internal).  Peach and nectarine flesh begin to break down.  In vineyards, a unique problem is posed.  Stink bugs may be harvested along with clusters and be transported to the winery in lugs or bins, where the wine can be imparted with a "stink bug taint".  There has been conflicting research on the stability of stink bug taint, in whether the taint survives fermentation and bottling.  Research in Oregon has indicated that taint may be long-term, surviving the bottling process.  Those researchers determined an action threshold of 3 BMSB per cluster in order ot avoid taint.  Levels this high are rarely seen. But if that threshold is reached, our research at Virginia Tech has determined two materials (clothianidin and pyrethrum) with a 0-day PHI that, if applied the afternoon before harvest, will get stink bugs out of the clusters.  This has been incorporated into our Pest Management Guide.  In addition to potential impact of wine quality, BMSB will feed directly on grape berries, causing a progressive necrosis of berries (see video of BMSB feeding grape and a YouTube video created by Sanjay Basnet, VT).  In cane berries, stink bugs feed between the druplets and can cause collapse of drupelets (see the stink bug feeding, and a drupelet with feeding punctures an all sides in the linked PDF).

In addition to its status as a pest of fruit and other crops, BMSB has become a domestic pest in autumn, in its native Asia as well as the U.S.  Adult bugs appear on the south and west sides of dwellings, seeking a protected place in which to overwinter.  Hundreds of bugs may reach the interior rooms, creating a nuisance with their activity and their scent.  More information on this aspect of BMSB is given in the Virginia Tech fact sheet .

VI. Monitoring: Monitoring for BMSB should include direct examinations for adults and nymphs, as well as for injured fruit.  Action thresholds have not been established.  Pheromones for BMSB have not been identified, thought it responds to pheromone components of another stink bug species.  Use of pheromone traps for monitoring of BMSB is an ungoing research topic.

VII. Control:  Chemical control:  Pyrethroids provide fairly effective control of BMSB, however even these pesticides may fail to control immigrating stink bugs after a few days.  In addition, summer applications of pyrethroids are associated with outbreaks of secondary pests such as mites in orchards and mealybugs in vineyards.  Some  neonicotinoids such as dinotefuran and clothianidin are also effective in the short term.  Since this is such a new pest in our area, control studies are still in progress.  In grape harvest, where residual control is not needed, Belay (clothianidin) and PyGanic (pyrethrins) have successfully reduced BMSB in grapevines; that latter material is not expected to provide residual control, however.  See the note on BMSB in the 2022 Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers (p 75, Apple Second Cover). 

On April 21, 2017, EPA approved bifenthrin (Bridgade WSB, Bifenture EC, Bifenture 10DF) for use against brown marmorated stink bug in apple, peach and nectarine.  Pears are already included in the full Section 3 label. Click here for more details.  A section 18 request for dinotefuran to combat brown marmorated stink bug on pome and stone fruits was announced by EPA on 30 June 2011.  VDACS released an announcement regarding this approval on June 29.  This Section 18 use was renewed for 2012 and 2013, and was active through 15 October 2013.  Venom (label, MSDS) and Scorpion (label, MSDS) are the two approved commercial products of dinotefuran.  Dinotefuran has a 3-day PHI on tree fruits.  See the Section 18 labels for Venom and Scorpion.  You should be in possession of these if the products are used.  At the same time, an organically-approved product containing azadiracthin and pyrethrins was approved for BMSB by EPA.   Label rates of Azera range from 1 to 3.5 pts/acre.  While a specific rate is not provided for BMSB, the label recommends 3-3.5 oz/A for high pest populations and difficult to control pests.  Residual life of Azera is expected to be short.  Azera may be used up to the day of harvest.  All of these products have very low mammalian toxicity; however, all are highly toxic to honey bees, and care is needed around bees.

The following links may be used for chemical control recommendations:
Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers
Pest Management Guide for Commercial Vineyards
Pest Management Guide for Commercial Small Fruit
Pest Management Guide for Home Fruit

Biological control:  There are natural enemies that attack native stink bugs, but many of these have limited success attacking BMSB.  A scelionid wasp native to China, Trissolcus japonicus (formerly known as T. halyomorphae), has been reported to have high parasitization rates, and is now in quarantine for research in the US.  This species was apparently introduced separately in the wild in the mid-Atlantic region and is slowly spreading.  An excellent video has been posted by Oregon State University researchers showing mating, oviposition and emergence behavior of this species.

Trapping BMSB after household invasion:  Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed an easy-to-make trap to collect household BMSB.

VIII.  Multi-state Research:  There are currently two multi-state research projects on brown marmorated stink bug.  One is an SCRI project, the other deals with organic management of BMSB.  Check the web site for progress in organic management of BMSB. (housed at eOrganic).

IX.  Additional reading:
Virginia Tech has a fact sheet (PDF version), as does Penn State University - fact sheet posted (PDF version) and Rutgers University.   A working group on organic management of BMSB has been established, with their own web site.  There is opportunity to participate in grower forums.  See the new Stop BMSB Web Site,!

Day, E. R., T. McCoy, D. Miller, T. P. Kuhar and D. G. Pfeiffer.  2011.  Brown marmorated stink bug, Hemiptera, Pentatomidae: Halyomorpha halysVa. Coop. Ext. Pub. 2902-1100.

Hamilton, G. C.  2011.  Biology and current spread of the brown marmorated stink bug in North America.  Rutgers Univ. and Northeast IPM Center.

Hamilton, G. C., P. W. Shearer and Nielsen, A. L.  2008.  Brown marmorated stink bug: A new exotic insect in New Jersey.  Rutgers University Cooperative Extension.  FS002.

Hoebecke, E. R., M. E. Carter, M. E. 2003.  Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae): A polyphagous plant pest from Asia newly detected in North America.   Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash.  105: 225-237.

Jones, J. R. and P. L. Lambdin. 2009.  New county and state records for Tennessee of an exotic pest, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), with potential economic and ecological implications.  Fla. Entomol.  92: 177-178.

Kamminga, K., D. A. Herbert, S. Malone, T. P. Kuhar and J. Greene.  2009.   guide to Stink Bugs of Economic Importance in the Upper Southern Region and Mid-Atlantic States. Va. Coop. Ext. Pub. 444-356.  34 p.

Leskey, T. C., G. C. Hamilton, D. J. Biddinger, M. L. Buffington, C. Dieckhoff, G. P. Dively, H. Fraser, T. Gariepy, C. Hedstrom, D. A. Herbert, K. A. Hoelmer, C. R. R. Hooks, D. Inkley, G. Krawczyk, T. P. Kuhar, D.-H. Lee, A. L. Nielsen, D. G. Pfeiffer, C. Rodriguez-Saona, P. W. Shearer, E. Talamas, E. Tomasino, J. Tooker, P. D. Venugopal, J. Whalen, V. Walton, K. M. Makkouk and N. Wiman.  2014.  Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug).  CABI Invasive Species Compendium.  On-line

Nielsen, A. L.  2013.  Nielsen, A. L. and G. C. Hamilton.  2009.  Life history of the invasive species Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in northeastern United States.  Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 102: 608-616.

Nielsen, A. L. and G. C. Hamilton.  2009. Seasonal occurrence and impact of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in tree fruit. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 1133-1140.

Northeastern IPM Center.  2012.  StopBMSB Web Site.

Pfeiffer, D. G., J. C. Bergh, J.M. Wilson, D. L. Frank, C. R. R. Hooks, G.M. Peck, C. S. Walsh, K. S. Yoder, A. R. Biggs, J. B. Kotcon, J. F. Derr, R. S. Chandran, M. J. Weaver, A. Brown and J. Parkhurst.  2018.  2018 Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers. Va. Coop. Ext. Serv. Publ. 456-419.

Pfeiffer, D. G., C. Rodriguez-Saona and J. Fiola.  2012.  Potential impacts on grapes and small fruits in the mid-Atlantic USAAdobe Presenter Presentation (14 min.)

Rider, D.  2011.  Pentatomoidea Home Page. (viewed 26 April 2012).

Wermelinger, B., D. Wyniger and B. Forster.  2008.  First records of an invasive bug in Europe: Halyomorpha halys Stål (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), a new pest on woody ornamentals and fruit trees?  Bull. Soc. Entomol. Suisse 81: 1-8.

Washington State University. 2014. Apple: Brown marmorated stink bug. (13 June 2014).

Yang, Z. Q., Y. X. Yao, L. F. Qiu and Z. F. Li.  2009.   A new species of Trissolcus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) parasitizing eggs of Halyomorpha halys (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in China with comments on its biology.  Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 102: 39-47.

WMRA NPR interview of Drs. Tracy Leskey and Tom Kuhar, of Virginia Tech Department of Entomology.

Support for research described here by the Virginia Wine Board/Virginia Vineyards Association and NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) is acknowledged.

Updated 4 December 2022
Maintained by: Douglas G. Pfeiffer
Department of Entomology
Virginia Tech
, Virginia
Back to pages for Apple, Peach, Grape, Small Fruit pages Peach page
Back to Mid-Atlantic Regional Fruit Loop