The Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner has detected a new pest in several Yuba City commercial buildings. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, a species native to Asia was introduced into the eastern United States in the mid-1990s. Within the last 15-years this stink bug has established and spread itself throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and is now found in portions of the Western U.S., including California. An adult is about the size of a dime.
BMSB can be a serious pest in fruit and vegetable crops in its immature and adult life stages. Physical damage includes pitting and scarring, making the fruit unmarketable as a fresh product. Some damage to fruit can even render the crop unusable for processed products. Parasitic wasps have been collected from BMSB’s native habitat, but it may be some time before they are ready to be released and used as a control measure.
In addition to plant damage, BMSB are a nuisance to people. When the weather turns cool, BMSB may seek shelter inside homes and other buildings causing irritation to persons sensitive to insect allergens. They do not bite people or pets, nor do they damage buildings. Management for homeowners is to restrict entry into houses during the winter months.
Ag Commissioner Mark Quisenberry stated that for homeowners and businesses, exclusion is the best defense. Patching small opening in outside walls will prevent the pest from entering indoor habitats. If an infestation is detected, using a professional pest exterminator is the best option. The pesticide vapors from so called bug-bombs do not penetrate the crevices stink bugs occupy and they are highly flammable when used or stored near open flame. As for any pesticide, safety first; always read and follow label directions!