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BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG in the Landscape and in the Home

Stephen Bambara, Mike Waldvogel & Steven Frank

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

Halyomorpha halys , Pentatomidae, HETEROPTERA

General Information

adult stink bug The first reported occurrence of the brown marmorated stink bug in the US came at Allentown, PA in 2001, but they are suspected as having been there earlier.  Since that time it has moved north and south into most states on the east coast and many states westward across the country.  One means of dispersal, for example, has been travel trailers which serve as good overwintering shelters and move hundreds of miles.  In NC they were first detected in the Winston-Salem area in 2009.

This Asian stink bug feeds on a variety of hosts in the landscape including butterfly bush (Buddleia), pawlonia, hibiscus, zinnia, and sunflower, to name a few. They also attack fruit trees (ornamental or otherwise).   They have potential to do damage to commercial apple, peach, soybean, cotton and other crops.  In some areas of the country they are more numerous than the native green stink bug. They may inflict leaf and fruit damage from feeding with needle-like mouth parts.

Perhaps the biggest problem for homeowners is the overwintering behavior where the bugs may collect seeking shelter in homes and structures, similar to the multicolored Asian lady beetle.  They don't harm people, but can give off an unpleasant odor when crushed or vacuumed.  Appearance in houses begins about late September-October.


banded antenna Adults are slightly larger than 1/2 inch. The overall coloring may vary from brown to gray.  Distinguishing characteristics are the white and dark banding on the antennae on the next-to-last antennal segment, red eyes and ocelli, and black and white bands along the outer edges of the thorax.  It has a smooth, untoothed shoulder. Though there one or two similar looking stink bugs, this is the only stink bug that aggregates in houses in large numbers. black and white markings


hatching eggs Egg masses are laid in midsummer by the overwintered females.  There are five nymphal stages that go through different colorations and markings.  Each stage takes about one week.   New adults emerge late summer, but don't move to overwintering areas for another month or two.  We do not yet know if there can be two generations in NC. life stages


For damage on plants, the normal stink bug procedures should be effective depending upon which plant or fruit tree you may wish to protect. The NC Chemicals manual has recomendations.

Outdoor chemical barriers sprayed on a house or structure containing a pyrethroid may be somewhat helpful, but the residual effectiveness of the chemical will be short.  Creating a physical barrier to their entrance is the best preventative.  Make sure window screens are in place and check around window air conditioning units.

Indoorstink bug on siding
Barrier exclusion is the best control. Seal and caulk and areas that may give access to the wall or house.  If this is not completely successful and stink bugs are entering the living quarters, seal or caulk around baseboards, window sills, and any points at which you may detect them coming into the structure.  Aerosol foggers (flea bombs) are not generally suggested.  They may kill some exposed bugs, but will not kill bugs in the wall, and the danger of fire hazard when using these products adds to the risk of their use.  A handheld aerosol spray can product may be somewhat effective in spots where they routinely collect, but vacuuming is a pesticide-free alternative, though it may be a little more work. It may be best to use a piece of ladies' hose over the hose end and discard them soon after so the vacuum cleaner does not hold the stink, long after the bugs are gone. Some people use a dedicated shop vac so as not to impart the odor to their household vacuum cleaner. Currently, feeding and mating attractants are being tested.

Useful links:
Oregon Identification Note Alert
Northeast IPM pest alert http://www.northeastipm.org/grants/partnership/2004/HolkoPUBaw04Prod05.pdf
Pennsylvania Forest Health Fact Sheet http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/leaflets/stinkbug.htm
Florida note http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/brown_marmorated_stink_bug.htm
Penn State University note http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug

See a MoonPie decorated like a brown marmorated stink bug.

Other Resources

For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service personnel.

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance contact an agent of North Carolina Cooperative Extension in your county.

© 2009 NC Cooperative Extension

Prepared by: Stephen Bambara, Mike Waldvogel & Steven Frank, Extension Entomologists .  Based on a USDA APHIS Invasive species report.  Photos from Bugwood.org. Gary Bernon, David Lance, and www.bugladyconsulting.com .

ENT/ort-148 September, 2009.
Web page last reviewed January, 2011 by the webperson.