Grower vigilance is still needed

Two insect pests— BrownMarmorated Stink Bug and SpottedWing Drosophila—continue to be amajor concern. By Judie Steeves


nexorably, the province’s new invasive agricultural pest, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, (BMSB) is moving into agricultural areas from residential backyards. Last year saw a much wider distribution of the bug in the Lower Mainland than in previous years, reports Tracy Hueppelsheuser, entomologist with the agriculture ministry’s plant health unit in Abbotsford.

It now appears to be established at low levels from Vancouver to Chilliwack/Rosedale, in urban areas. As well, she says a bug was caught along 248th Street in Langley, on an agricultural property.

There have also been catches around the Sumas-Huntingdon border area. The next step with survey work is to watch for this bug in agricultural fields and crops, she says.

Growers are also asked to watch for any suspect crop damage. Both adults and nymphs feed on berries, puncturing the skin with their mouth parts and rendering the fruit inedible.

The BMSB is native to Asia and, since its first sighting in Pennsylvania in 2001, it has spread throughout the U.S. A devastating pest of agriculture, it is known to feed on more than 100 different plant species.

It is an excellent hitchhiker and was first discovered in B.C. in 2015. For details, search ‘BMSB in BC’ or go directly to the ministry website: dustry/agriculture-seafood/animals- and-crops/plant-health/insects-and- plant-diseases/tree-fruits/brown- marmorated-stink-bug

Hueppelsheuser notes there are initiatives in B.C. to survey for the Asian bio-control agent, a tiny wasp which lays its eggs in stink bug eggs. This beneficial wasp will help limit the

British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2018 13

Look-alikes, but not the same. Insects of the Brochymena genus, also known as Rough Stink Bugs (right) are often confused with Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (left).

who overwintered, so ministry and industry officials are very concerned for berry crops this season.

Hueppelsheuser says survey results from traps in woods and hedgerows adjacent to berry fields indicate the tiny vinegar fly was active and present throughout winter and into spring. “There were only

a handful of SWD-lethal days, so many of the flies survived winter this year,” she reports.

Growers are encouraged to stay vigilant in their monitoring and pest control this season; to watch the Blueberry IPM Newsletter and the Small Fruit Update for weekly reports. SWD was first identified in B.C. in 2009 and it is now widespread in both Coastal and Interior fruit-growing areas of the province.

Spotted Wing Drosophila

populations of the invasive stink bug. Research results in the United States show that this wasp prefers BMSB eggs, which is very promising, she adds. Meanwhile, surveys for overwintering Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in the Fraser Valley indicate there were many

It is also native to southeast Asia and prefers temperate regions, but has been able to overwinter successfully in B.C. A pest of thin-skinned fruit, it infests sound fruit, before it becomes over-ripe, unlike other fruit flies, so it can be devastating to commercial berry crops if not controlled.

Females lay their eggs inside fruit, causing it to become soft and unmarketable.

For more details, go to the agriculture ministry’s website or search ‘SWD in B.C.’

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