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About the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Project
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, may be the next exotic pest to affect Oregon specialty crop production. Oregon berry, grape, and tree fruit growers are still adjusting to the challenge of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD), which arrived in the U.S. in 2008 and is now widespread in the Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge. While BMSB can damage all of the same fruits as SWD, it could also impact other specialty crops such as hazelnuts, vegetables, and ornamentals. Oregon offers BMSB a comfortable environment with abundant habitat and less pressure from natural enemies than it has in its native range of China, Korea, and Japan. BMSB is associated with certain invasive host plants that are widespread in Oregon, and can feed on an unknown number of native plant species. Adults will aggregate or overwinter in homes and other structures, and can become numerous in attics and porches. They find abundant host plants in neighborhoods on which to feed and lay eggs. Because this invader thrives in urban and natural habitats, it could prove difficult to manage in specialty crops.
First identified from Portland in 2004, BMSB has increased in range substantially in recent years. In 2012, OSU conducted surveys for the pest across the state and found that BMSB is was present throughout the Willamette Valley, and is expanding its range East into the Columbia Gorge (see the results of our 2012 survey here). In 2013, we found established populations in the Columbia Basin and in other areas of Eastern Oregon (2013 survey here). Most reports of BMSB from Oregon are still coming from urban areas, but reports and detections from rural areas are increasing and the pest was found in commercial crops for the first time in 2012. In 2013, we saw out first significant damage to crops in the region.
Until recently, this insect was not considered to be a major threat, but new developments have made it the focus of national attention. In Mid-Atlantic states, BMSB was an urban nuisance pest from its first detection in 1996, until 2010 when the pest caused over $37 million in damages to the apple crop. Clearly, there is reason to be concerned that this scenario will be repeated in Oregon if populations of BMSB continue to increase.
Research and Resources
Oregon State University entomologists, in partnership with USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Unit in Corvallis, are part of a national, coordinated effort led by Tracy Leskey (USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Center, Kearneysville, WV) to address the threat of BMSB to specialty crops across the United States. We are working to provide growers with the tools they need to combat this pest now, and to provide long-term, sustainable solutions for managing BMSB into the future. For the highest concentration of resources and information for BMSB please go to: StopBMSB.org.
Local Resources/Reporting for Oregon
If you are an interested or concerned grower or citizen, please follow the links to learn more about BMSB and this project. We are working to provide more resources that pertain to specialty crop producers in Oregon, and we will provide periodic research updates. Although we can't investigate every citizen report, particularly those coming from the known range of the pest in Oregon, we do log all reports and this is important information nonetheless. All grower reports are investigated at this time. Please utilize our identification resources and report BMSB to our research team.
Send comments to: BMSB@oregonstate.edu