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UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


PEST 411 New bug stinking up Georgia


Brown marmorated stink bug coming to town by April Reese Sorrow, Science Writer, University of Georgia Public Affairs Office


April Sorrow, UGA


Brown marmorated stink bug adults are 5/8 inch in length and are dark mottled brown. Antennas and exposed areas of the abdomen are banded. They were discovered in the U.S. in Allentown, Pa., in 2001.


More than 200 species of stink bugs call North America home. As many as 60 species live in Geor- gia. One more was recently discovered in southern South Caro- lina. Te brown mar- morated stink bug, or Halyomorpha halys, will likely soon invade Georgia, according to a University of Geor- gia entomologist.


“If people thought the invasion of the kudzu bug was bad, just wait,” said Rick


Hoebeke, associate curator and manager of the insect collection at the Georgia Museum of Natural History.


Te kudzu bug invaded Georgia in 2009. So called because it munches on the infamous kud- zu, but it also like soybeans, a valuable Georgia crop. Like the kudzu bug, the brown marmorated is an invader, originating from Asia. It likely found its way to America on a freight container or smuggled in merchandise. Today it is reported in 33 states, including Oregon, California, South Carolina and Florida.


“Tis stink bug spreads very rapidly by either hitchhiking or through its own powers of disper- sal,” Hoebeke said. “It’s one of the best hitchhiker pests I know of.”


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Hoebeke recently leſt New York and Cornell University to join the department of entomology at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. He didn’t bring the bug with him, but he was the first entomologist to identify it in North America.


Discovered in 2001 A brown marmorated stink bug adult is half an inch long and dark mottled brown. Distinct light bands mark its antennae. Exposed areas of the abdomen are dark and light banded. Females lay clusters of light green, barrel-shaped eggs on the undersides of leaves. In Asia, four generations can be produced in a single season.


Georgia may be warm enough to foster three broods a season, meaning the population will increase faster than it has in Pennsylvania and Maryland.


First officially reported in Allentown, Pa. in 2001, its numbers soon escalated into the thousands, Hoebeke said.


“I went to Allentown to collect samples, and they were everywhere,” he said. “Tey were flying, crawling. People were sweeping them off their porches into large buckets by the hundreds.”


Pest of people Fall could draw these insects inside homes. Temperatures that dip into the 40s push insects indoors, according to Dan Horton, an entomolo- gist with UGA Cooperative Extension.


“Bugs behave not that dissimilar from you and me. If you need a jacket or heavy long-sleeved shirt, creatures will be looking to warm-up too,” Horton said. “We are not too far from a cold snap of having them looking to head inside.” If you do find them indoors try not to squash them. As their name implies, they emit stink. “Tis is a much larger stink bug than the kudzu bug and is more likely to have more of a gross- out factor for homeowners who find the intruder in their living room,” Horton said. “Homeowner encounters will be the first source of our con- cern.”


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