Stink Bugs: Besides the Brown Marmorated One

By Pat Dickey, Fairfax Master Gardener

brown marmorated stink bug

Brown marmorated stink-bug

In recent years, stink bugs seemed to suddenly invade our gardens in large numbers. Where did they all come from? What can we do to get rid of them? Gardeners panicked. Scientists were especially stumped because there didn’t seem to be a predator insect in our country that would help keep down their numbers. We have been learning more every year about them.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) was brought to the United States around 1996 in shipments from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, where it is a native agricultural pest. As of 2014, these bugs have been seen in 41 states in single sightings or in reproducing populations. They are true bugs from the family Pentatomidae and are phytophagus or plant-eating bugs.

Measuring 0.5 x 0.625 inches, the BMSB has a shield-shaped, marbled (marmorated) brown abdomen and marbled legs. There are also two lighter white bands on the antennae and darker bands on the overlapping part at the rear of the front pair of wings. Patches of coppery or bluish metallic-colored punctures or depressions are on the head and pronotum near the head. These characteristics distinguish them from the other stink bugs in Virginia.

brown stink bug

Brown Stink Bug