You can help raise a stink
It hasn’t been spotted here yet, but this little sucker could pose big problems for berry crops, so growers are asked to be on the lookout. By Judie Steeves
The list of plants that host the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
(Halyomorpha halys) is a very long one and includes most of those in the berry families.
This invasive, alien pest, introduced from Asia, can cause extensive damage to a wide variety of commercial food crops, and it has been found just south of the border, although not in any crops in Canada yet.
Although it was first found in the area of Portland, Oregon in 2004, it was discovered in many other parts of Oregon last year, as well as Washington State, so Canadian agricultural authorities are requesting that early detection of this serious pest be reported to the provincial agriculture ministry. Tracy Hueppelsheuser,
entomologist with the ministry, says there is still much to be learned about this new pest.
To date, she said it hasn’t been detected in either homes or crops in
B.C., and monitoring programs for the pest are not well worked out anywhere in North America yet. During the early stages of infestation by this stink bug, it’s likely that home owners will notice it gathering in buildings in the fall, as do certain species of ladybug.
In subsequent years, it may become an agricultural pest, she said, but it’s likely it will first be noticed in fall when it infests buildings.
It emerges as an adult in mid-April or May, mates and deposits eggs from May through August. The eggs hatch into red and black nymphs which go through five molts. By September, they begin to search for overwintering accommodation.
The adult BMSB can be identified by the distinct white bands on its antennae and white alternating with dark marks along the bug’s side.
Like other stink bugs it has a “shield” shape and is almost as wide as long. Adults are about one centimetre long and shades of brown in colour.
When disturbed it gives off a foul odour. The bug is a sucking insect that leaves damage behind on whatever fruit it feeds on.
Check the B.C. agriculture ministry website for both photos and new information on this insect pest, at: www.agf.gov.bc.ca
British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2011 13
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