Brown marmorated stinkbugs (Halyomorpha halys) are coming back! The chaotic winter weather – cycles of below-zero temperatures, snow and consequent warm spells –in most of the United States did little to kill-off the over-wintering population of brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB). While early reports speculated on the extreme cold weather and snow killing the BMSB, recent spring reports show that they are primed for a comeback to commercial as well as home garden plantings.
“We are not seeing any difference in the mortality rates” because of the cold, said Tracy Leskey, the department's research entomologist in charge of the Stop BMSP project. “We haven't seen any effect so far,” she added. BMSB infestations have now spread to 41 states and several European countries having lived through the super-cold and snowy winter by making their own anti-freeze-type substance within their “blood” system that allows them to survive down to -5°F. They also invade houses, barns and sheds looking for a winter home that prevents freezing.
Pheromone traps are one way home gardeners have of outwitting BMSB and their devastation. Pheromone traps work by attracting insects such as the BMSB to traps from which they cannot escape. Pheromones are chemical substance produced and released into the environment by insects and other animals. They are specific to affecting certain behaviors and the physiology of others of its species.
Most pheromone traps use a mixture of pheromones to attract both males and females. RESCUE!® recently received a patent on the pheromone murgantiol which influences gathering together of the bugs (aggregate gathering). This chemical mixed with other pheromones has the effect of attracting more BMSBs throughout the spring and summer seasons.
For the latest information about brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) visit Stop BMSB, a website that deals with the biology, ecology, and management of the BMSG. The site is the joint effort of the team of researchers funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative.