CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – An invasive stink bug species has been found in five newly invaded Illinois counties this year, according to Kelly Estes, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) coordinator in the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.
With the arrival of cooler weather, brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) congregate on house siding, windowsills, and garages, or find their way into homes, becoming a nuisance for homeowners.
“This is the time of year when stink bugs are most active as they look for cracks and crevices in buildings and other dry places to overwinter,” Estes said. Reports of brown marmorated stink bug activity have been steadily increasing across the state this past week.
First found in northeast Illinois (Cook County) and in the East St. Louis area in 2010, this year BMSB have been confirmed for the first time in Macon, Winnebago, Clinton, Effingham, and Stephenson Counties. Since BMSB is an invasive species, it has few known natural enemies and populations can grow quickly.
Adult BMSB have the shield-shaped body of all stink bugs. This species has a marmorated or mottled brown color and the antennae have white bands. Alternating black and white bands border the abdomen.
In the spring, the stink bugs emerge from their hiding places to lay eggs on the underside of leaves. They feed on 150 to 200 host plants in gardens, orchards, and fields. Estes reported no known economic losses thus far in agricultural crops in Illinois, unlike the damage seen in the Mid-Atlantic states.
To keep stink bugs out of homes, make sure windows are sealed. Estes does not recommend spraying insecticide. The best option is to vacuum them up and throw them away; live stink bugs can also be dropped into soapy water.
Homeowners are the best source of information on the whereabouts of BSMB. If you believe you have seen this species, Estes would be interested in looking at a sample. Stink bugs may be sent in a crush-proof container, such as a pill bottle or check box, to Kelly Estes, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820. Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Kelly Estes, (217) 333-1005; email@example.com