University of Missouri Extension Horticulturists Kelly McGowan and Patrick Byers say the first reported Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, pictured, in southwest Missouri has been confirmed and area farmers and homeowners should be aware.
On January 28, 2015, Karen McDonald, a member of the Master Gardeners of Greene County, found the insect in her home. MU Extension specialists sent the specimen to the Missouri Department of Agriculture where staff confirmed identification.
An invasive species from Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug probably made its way to the United States in shipping containers. The insect was first recognized in Pennsylvania in 1998 and confirmed in the St. Louis area before being spotted locally.
"The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has a huge appetite for many different horticultural and agricultural crops," said McGowan. "While other types of stink bugs favor just a few kinds of plants, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug will eat almost any type of fruit or vegetable. Most worrisome is that there are no natural predators for this insect in the U.S., so populations are increasing."
Another problem is that the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug overwinters in large groups in homes and has a bad smell. Stink bugs have five stages as young insects before they become adults. When disturbed, these insects produce a foul odor representative of their name.
"This is a big problem on the east and west coast where they have been found in groups numbering in the thousands. They do not bite people or damage buildings, but the smell can be horrid and hard to get rid of," said McGowan.
These insects are about a one-half inch long and are a little larger than other stink bugs. They have white stripes on their antennae, faint white bands on their legs and the outer edges of their abdomen have alternating white and dark markings.
"With the recent discovery at a home just outside of Springfield, Missouri, it is now accurate to say that the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has found its way to the Ozarks," said McGowan.
Individuals that think they have found this pest and would like it identified can bring it to the Greene County Extension office, which is located inside The Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield.