The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a new invasive insect that was first found in the U.S. in 1998 and in Iowa (Scott County) in 2012. See HHPN from October 17, 2012.
BMSB is a serious plant pest that feeds on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, field crops, trees and shrubs. The bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and puncture the skin of developing fruits and vegetables, stunting and deforming growth and making them unsalable and unusable. In the fall of the year BMSB becomes a household accidental invader and wanders indoors (similar to boxelder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles, only larger, smellier and worse!)
Additional reports now indicate BMSB has been detected in 40 states with severe crop damage in 6 of those and some agricultural damage reported in 4 more. The remaining states are reporting household invasion nuisance only or detection.
In Iowa, BMSB has been reported in 10 counties, primarily in eastern Iowa but earlier this year in Warren and Polk Counties in the center of the state and Council Bluffs on the western edge. See the map below.
The BMSB is looks similar to other brown-colored stink bugs but is distinguished by the mottled brownish gray color and the alternating light and dark bands on the antennae. See photo below. The underside of the BMSB is pale in color. BMSB is compared to other similar insects on the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic website and in ISU Extension & Outreach publication PM3012, Stink Bugs of the Midwest.
We are continuing to track the distribution of BMSB in Iowa and would appreciate your reports. Submit 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. We have several native brown stink bugs that look similar to BMSB and are very common. Therefore, specimens or a clear, close-up digital image are necessary to confirm the presence of BMSB in a new county.
Note the banded antennae that distinguish BMSB from similar species.