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Raising a stink: farmers on the lookout for invasive species

Raising a stink: farmers on the lookout for invasive species

The brown marmorated stink bug is known to overwinter in several urban areas




By Kaitlynn Anderson

Staff Reporter


While farmers likely will not be working or scouting their fields this winter, they can still be on the lookout for a troublesome pest. 

This invasive species, known as the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), tends to move into houses and sheltered areas during the winter, Tracey Baute, a field crops entomologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), said in a recent post.

While farmers have yet to locate this pest in the province’s field crops, scouts in several urban locations have found established breeding populations, according to Baute.

These pest populations are shown as green marks on the map below.


Source: Field Crop News


Homeowners play a big role in searching for these pests, as the BMSB may survive in houses over the winter, Baute said in an interview with

“Having a good, in-focus photo of the specimen or saving the specimen to send to us is necessary for us to confirm identification,” she said.

Individuals who believe they have found a BMSB “can collect the insect in a vial or plastic container and put it in the freezer until it can be sent to (OMAFRA),” she added.

During the warmer months, the BMSB may find shelter on various hosts, “including a variety of fruit trees, berries, grapes (and) vegetables, (as well as) field crops including corn, soybeans and edible beans,” Baute said.

The BMSB is of concern as it “is very flexible in moving from one host to another, finding the ideal plant stage (it) requires to live.”

The insect may cause damage that “not only impacts yield and quality, but (also) allows the introduction of secondary pathogens to develop on the wound sites,” said Baute. “Often this injury is only noticed at harvest when it is too late to manage.”

Given the potential threat the BMSB poses to horticulture and cash crops, OMAFRA is closely monitoring the movement of the pest.

The BMSB can be distinguished by its smooth shoulders, distinct white triangular pattern on the abdomen and the white bands on the antennae, Baute explained in her post.


Source: Field Crop News


If you come across one of these bugs, Baute encourages you to contact the OMAFRA Agriculture Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

You can also send a high-quality photo of the pest to

For more information on the insect, visit the Stop BMSB website.