Invasive Pest Targeted By PA Agencies
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - An exotic pest is invading Pennsylvania at an increasing rate, while state agencies are working together to bring awareness and combat the problem.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), long a pest in its native Asia, is a new invasive agricultural pest of stone fruit, especially peaches as well as many other plant species. It was first detected in North America in Allentown, PA in 2001. In addition to being a strong flyer, BMSB is a hitchhiking pest that has the potential to spread rapidly with human assistance to other locations in the United States. The insect is also considered a nuisance pest, especially in the fall, when adult BMSB enter homes looking for a place to over winter.
Invasive species are organisms that adapt quickly to a new environment and reproduce and spread rapidly into new locations, often displacing the organisms that were originally there. "Many invasive species are exotic-not native to our environment, while others may be native, but may rapidly reproduce and become a problem," says Gary Clement, state director for APHIS, PPQ.
BMSB adults emerge in spring, mate and lay eggs from June to August. BMSB grows to adulthood during July and August with the adults searching for overwintering sites in September, often in homes and other human structures. There is probably only one generation per year in Pennsylvania.
During the summer BSMB has been observed feeding on shade trees, fruit trees, vegetables, legumes and many other plants. Since this bug has 'piercing-sucking mouthparts, it damages plants leaving many areas of stippling or dead areas on leaves and fruit. Clement says PPQ recognizes public education and outreach as a critical component of their overall pest detection program. "Education and outreach will go a long way in helping us to focus on rapid detection and identification of invasive species," said Clement.
To this end, a new brochure on BMSB was recently developed and is now available through Penn State Cooperative Extension. The four-color brochure contains information on the biology of the insect, the problems they can cause and management tips, along with four-color images of the insect at its various life stages. John Berry, extension educator at Lehigh County Cooperative Extension, developed the brochure after seeing the need to educate growers and the general public about BMSB and its potential impacts. "The brochure will also aid in enhanced pest monitoring and best management practices," says Berry. The brochure is also available in Spanish. Copies of the brochure may be obtained by contacting the Lehigh County Cooperative Extension office at (610) 391-9840. It is also available as a downloadable PDF file from the PA IPM Web site at http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/pdf/bmsbug.pdf
The Pennsylvania IPM program, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, is a partner with USDA/APHIS to communicate with the general public about the occurrence and impact of invasive species. PA IPM promotes integrated pest management in both agricultural and nonagricultural situations. For more information, contact the program at (814) 865-2839, or Web site http://paipm.cas.psu.edu. To view our archived news releases, see Web site http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/NewsReleases/newsRelease.html.