Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Discovered in Greene County; Homeowners Advised of Potential Problem

Contact: Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: mcgowank@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly McGowan says the first reported Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in southwest Missouri has been confirmed and area homeowners should be on alert.

On January 28, 2015, Karen McDonald, a member of the Master Gardener of Greene County, found the brown marmorated stink bug in her home. MU Extension specialists sent the specimen to the Missouri Department of Agriculture where staff confirmed identification.

Until now, the closest Brown Marmorated Stink Bug that had been found and confirmed was in the St. Louis area.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has a huge appetite for many different horticultural and agricultural crops,” said McGowan. “While other types of stink bugs favor just a few kinds of plants, the brown marmorated stink bug will eat almost any type of fruit or vegetable. Most worrisome is that there are no predators for this bug in the U.S., so populations are increasing.”

Another problem is that the brown marmorated stink bug overwinters in large groups in homes and have a bad smell.

“This is a big problem on the east and west coast where they have been found in groups numbering in the thousands.  They do not bite people or damage buildings, but the smell can be horrid and hard to get rid of,” said McGowan.

The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species from Asia and that probably made its way to the United States in shipping containers.  The insect was first recognized in Pennsylvania in 1998.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are about a one-half long and are a little larger than other stink bugs.  They have white stripes on their antennae, faint white bands on their legs and the outer edges of their abdomen have alternating white and dark markings.

Stinkbugs have five stages as young insects before they become adults. When they die, these insects produce a foul odor, thus the name stinkbug.

“With the recent discovery at a home just outside of Springfield, Mo., it is now accurate to say that Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs have found the Ozarks,” said McGowan.

Individuals that think they have found a brown marmorated stink bug and would like it identified can bring it to the Greene County Extension office, which is located inside The Botanical Center at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. in Springfield,  Mo.