Pest Patrol: Why are stink bugs in Ontario?

Stink bug damage found on two apple farms near Hamilton and Waterdown

Question: A couple of years ago there was a lot of talk about a new invasive insect, some sort of stink bug. I was told that it could take a few years before this insect reached populations that would negatively affect crops. What are populations of this insect doing in Ontario?

For our answer, I contacted Tracey Baute, OMAFRA field crop entomologist. Her response is below:

Let’s start on a positive note. We did not find any brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) during our corn and soybean field survey in 2014.

The discouraging news is that they are being found in more locations across Ontario. From past BMSB surveys and OMAFRA’s outreach efforts to homeowners (BMSB overwinter as adults in homes), we know that they have been overwintering in: Beamsville, Brampton, Burlington, Cedar Springs, Delhi, Fort Erie, Grimsby, Hamilton, Kincardine, London, Maidstone, Milton, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottawa, Paris, St. David’s, Stoney Creek, Tecumseh, Toronto, Vaughan, and Waterdown.

During our recent two-year survey, we also found breeding populations of BMSB in Hamilton, London, Newboro, St. Catharines and Windsor. Of greater concern are the recent reports of low levels of stink bug damage found on two apple farms near Hamilton and Waterdown, as well as homeowner complaints about damage to garden and ornamental plants. This is a good indication that BMSB is reaching higher population densities that will push them to move to their host crops in the near future.

We continue to stay informed on research efforts being conducted in the mid-Atlantic states where BMSB has been causing significant economic damage in corn and soybeans. Action thresholds, spray timings and management options are being identified and will be validated and put to use here in Ontario when management is required.

To learn more about brown marmorated stink bug and how to control it, visit the OMAFRA website.

Have a question you want answered? Hashtag #PestPatrol on Twitter to @cowbrough or email Mike.

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