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The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) sometimes called the yellow-brown stink bug or the East Asian stink bug, a true bug in the insect family Pentatomidae, is here in Alabama. First reported in Pennsylvania in 2001 on butterfly-bush, paulownia, and backyard peach/pear trees, has since traveled to other states that now include Alabama. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) feeds on fruits and seed pods of a wide range of plants including soybean, corn, green beans, asparagus, pepper, some ornamental trees, and some of our ornamental shrubs.


Adults are about 1 inch long and about as wide and have the typical shield like shape of other stink bugs. Their coloring is marmorated (marble like) shades of brown, yellow, and grey. The BMSB can be distinguished from other stink bugs by the alternating dark and light bands on the last two segaments of the antennae and also on the exposed side edges of the abdomen. As stink bugs go they are quite attractive. The egg clusters are barrel shaped and light green in color. There are five nymphal stages ranging in size from 2.4mm to 12mm in length and tick like in appearance. Nymphs have red eyes, and the abdomen is yellowish red at first progressing to off-white in the fifth instar.


Because the BMST is highly mobile and the broad range of plants the BMST feeds on it is able to move progressively from one crop to another as the fruit ripens, which puts any crop that has fruit at risk. As is the case with most true bugs the BMSB feeds by sucking on plant juices and the damage can run from mild to severe. If that's not enough to make them a dreaded pest they also have another trait that's annoying. In the fall of the year the adult BMSB's will seek shelter in homes and other buildings. They don't cause any harm to the building but can become a big nuisance when they come in in large numbers.




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