Kaieteur News – The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an insect in the family Pentatomidae, native to China, Japan, Korea and other Asian regions. In September 1998 it was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where it is believed to have been accidentally introduced. The nymphs and adults of the brown marmorated stink bug feed on over 100 species of plants, including many agricultural crops, and by 2010–11 had become a season-long pest in orchards in the Eastern United States. In 2010, in the Mid-Atlantic United States, $37 million in apple crops were lost, and some stone fruit growers lost more than 90 percent of their crops. It is now established in many parts of North America, and has recently become established in Europe and South America.
Adult brown marmorated stink bugs are approximately 1.7 cm (0.67 in) long and about as wide, forming the heraldic shield shape characteristic of bugs in the superfamily Pentatomoidea. They are generally a dark brown when viewed from above, with a creamy white-brown underside. Individual colouration may vary, with some bugs being various shades of red, grey, light brown, copper, or black. The term “marmorated” means variegated or veined, like marble, which refers to the markings unique to this species, including alternating light-coloured bands on the antennae and alternating dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. The legs are brown with faint white mottling or banding.
The nymph stages are black or very dark brown, with red integument between the sclerites. First instar nymphs have no white markings, but second through fifth instar nymphs have black antennae with a single white band. The legs of nymphs are black with varying amounts of white banding. Freshly molted individuals of all stages are pale white with red markings. Eggs are normally laid on the underside of leaves in masses of 28 eggs, and are light green when laid, gradually turning white.
Like all stink bugs, the glands that produce the defensive chemicals (the smell) are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs.
The odour from the stink bug is due to trans-2-decenal and trans-2-octenal. The smell has been characterized as a ‘pungent odour that smells like coriander.’ The stink bug’s ability to emit an odour through holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds and lizards. However, simply handling the bug, injuring it, or attempting to move it can trigger it to release the odour.
Reports on human cases are rare, but the stink bug’s body fluids are toxic and irritating to the human skin and eyes. One case of keratitis has been reported in Taiwan.
During courtship, the male emits pheromones and vibrational signals to communicate with a female, which replies with her own vibrational signals, as in all stink bugs. The insects use the signals to recognise and locate each other. Vibrational signals of this species are noted for their low frequency, and one male signal type is much longer than any other previously described signals in stink bugs, although the significance of this is not yet clear.
The brown marmorated stink bug is a sucking insect (like all Hemiptera or “true bugs”) that uses its proboscis to pierce the host plant to feed. This feeding results, in part, in the formation of dimpled or necrotic areas on the outer surface of fruits, leaf stippling, seed loss, and possible transmission of plant pathogens. It is an agricultural pest that can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops. In Japan, it is a pest to soybean and fruit crops. In the U.S., the brown marmorated stink bug feeds, beginning in late May or early June, on a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other host plants including peaches, apples, green beans, soybeans, cherries, raspberries, and pears. (Source: Wikipedia)
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