About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stink Bugs: Large brown shield-shaped bugs

Twice this week my head has been dive bombed by stink bugs. These large brown shield-shaped bugs also known as Halyomorpha halys, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), were introduced accidentally into the United States from China or Japan as stowaways in packing crates. First documented specimens were collected in Pennsylvania in 1998. They have now been found in 40 states including Michigan in 2010.

Control of stink bugs is a priority of the Department of Agriculture. The bugs suck out juices from numerous types of plants including tomatoes, soy beans, lima beans and sweet corn, and have caused severe losses in some fruit orchards.

Stink bugs invade homes in the fall to survive the winter. Once inside the house, they will go into a state of hibernation to wait for winter to pass. These insects are not known to cause harm to humans, although their large size, about ½ inch, and tough shield shaped back make them scary when they smack into the side of your head. They are various shades of brown on both the top and bottom and have stink glands located on the underside of the thorax.

The stink bug's ability to emit an odor through holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent them from being eaten by birds and lizards. However as of 2012, native predators such as wasps and birds were showing increased signs of feeding on the bugs as they adapt to the new food source.

Related Articles:
- How to keep moths out of bird seed http://goo.gl/D7JSp8
- A closer look at the woodpeckers in Michigan http://goo.gl/cLO0yr
- Where does the Woolly Bear go in the winter? http://bit.ly/pB5L4V
- A Very Tiny Hummingbird (Moth)? http://bit.ly/qtrAaV
- Do Honey Bees migrate in the winter? http://bit.ly/GEK5QX
- How long does a house fly live?‎ http://bit.ly/HeSh7g

No comments: