According to Tom Stebbins, UT/TSU Extension Agent for Hamilton County, we are starting to see the next insect pest invader – the Brown Marmorated Sting Bug (BMSB). His office is just starting to get reports from Chattanooga area homeowners about this member of the stink bug family.
Adults are approximately 3/4 inch long (17 mm) and are shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces. They are the typical “shield” shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. To distinguish them from other stink bugs, look for lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous, overlapping part at the rear of the front pair of wings. They have patches of coppery or bluish-metallic colored puntures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an insect not previously seen on our continent, was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier. This true bug in the insect family Pentatomidae is known as an agricultural pest in its native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Recently, the BMSB has become a serious pests of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region and it is probable that it will become a pest of these commodities in other areas in the United States.
BMSB becomes a nuisance pest both indoors and out when it is attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days in search of protected, overwintering sites. BMSB occasionally reappears during warmer sunny periods throughout the winter, and again as it emerges in the spring. The BMSB invasion will probably be as bad as ladybugs or boxelder bugs. Like other insects, BMSB get into houses through small cracks or poor screens. As a result, the best approach to control is to tighten up your homes for winter with caulk and insulation. Sprays are not the answer.
The University of Maryland has an informative video on BMSB control: