This article was published originally on 10/17/2012
The brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive insect found in the eastern U.S. for the past several years has been confirmed from Scott County Iowa. This is the only breeding infestation of brown marmorated stink bugs reported in Iowa, though isolated detections have been made in four other counties.
Earlier in October an alert ISU Master Gardener trained to watch for new invasive species, took a stink bug specimen to the Scott County extension office where County Extension Horticulturist Duane Gissel made the tentative identification based on training materials provide through ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Master Gardener program. The specimen was submitted to the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic and confirmed as brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).
This week additional samples of stink bugs have been reported in the Davenport and Bettendorf area. The timing of the collections (mid-autumn on a warm, sunny days) and the location of the live specimens indicates there are now established populations of BMSB in Scott Co, IA. Previous detections of BMSB in Iowa were hitchhikers transported in boxes or crates from the eastern USA.
BMSB was first identified in the US in Pennsylvania in 2001. They spread rapidly and detections have been reported in 38 states as awareness of this invasive pest increased.
During the summer the stink bugs use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap from fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and field crops. On warm fall days the stinkbugs migrate to overwintering sites. They congregate on houses and buildings and accidentally wander inside in a manner similar to boxelder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles. Stink bugs are named for the characteristic, disagreeable odor they produce, making the invasion even more distressing.
We need your help. Specialists from Iowa State University and the state and federal departments of agriculture are tracking the presence of this and other invasive insects in the state. Please be on the lookout and report any suspicious stink bugs to your local county extension office or the ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Reports can be made by emailing digital images to the Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brown marmorated stink bug showing the banded abdomen and antennae.