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And you thought Asian ladybird beetles were badPosted Friday, November 12, 2010, at 2:53 PM
Dr. Wayne Bailey, University of Missouri entomologist indicates that the brown marmorated stink bug is expected to arrive in Missouri in 2011. He stated that it may already be here in long numbers. This exotic stink bug was first found in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1998 and has steadily moved outward from its original location during the past twelve years. As of 2010, this insect is reported in 27 states including Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This insect is a native of mainland China and was probably introduced in the United States in the early 90's.
The mormorated stink bug is similar to the Asian ladybird beetle in that it readily invades homes during the fall months to overwinter. Once in the house, this stink bug will quickly release a very repulsive smell if disturbed. Many people who have experienced the foul odor say that it is often necessary to leave the room for several hours to allow the stench to decrease to tolerable levels. Several states report that the best method of eliminating this insect from houses is to suck them up with a vacuum and immediately change the vacuum bag or to let them crawl onto a piece of paper and transport them back outside. The vacuum method may result in some odor remaining in the vacuum after the bag has been removed. Most other methods of control in houses, including insecticides, apparently cause the insect to emit their defensive odors when disturbed. Squashing the insect is not a recommended way to eliminate the insect. Thoroughly seal along all cracks and crevices around windows, doors, crawl spaces, and other possible entry points prior to fall will help provide barriers to house entry. A certified pest control specialist can spray the area around and on the structure with a synthetic pyrethroid in order to repel the adults.
The brown marmorated stink bug can be confused with several other stink bugs already present in Missouri. It is brown to brownish-gray in color on both top and bottom surfaces. It is about ¾-inch in length and about as wide as long. It's two identifying characteristics are a white band on the next to last (4th) antennal segment and a row of alternating white and black markings located around the edge of the shell where the front and back wings overlap.
Nymphs are red and black when first emerging from eggs, but take on a more gray color as they grow through their immature stages. The adult overwinters to emerge in May and June to feed throughout the summer on numerous fruit and vegetable crops such as apples, cherries, peaches, pears, blackberries, green beans, lima beans, peppers, sweet corn, field corn and soybeans.
At present, it is thought that only one generation is produced per year in the U.S. although multiple generations have been reported from several Asian countries. In contrast to most other Missouri stink bugs, brown marmorated stink bugs adults may live for several years. No harm to humans by this insect has been reported.
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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.