The center has been receiving a higher number than normal of calls and emails about stink bugs. The nymphal stages are appearing now feeding on all types of fruits and vegetables. Stink bugs have a piercing/sucking mouth part used to stick into plants and produce to eat. Their feeding results in damaged vegetables and fruits and plants. All stink bug are shield-shaped and have five segmented antennae. They are in the family Pentatomida, Greek for five segments referring to the antennae. Stink bugs have barrel-shaped eggs the adult female lays in groupings called rafts, on the underside of leaves. Eggs hatch into nymphs that gather around the raft of empty eggs until they molt into their second stage. Each stage after hatch and molts are called instars. Stink bugs have five instars until reaching adulthood. Eggs are laid during June and July and typically take five weeks to reach maturity. The highest number of populations will be during September until we have cold weather and frost. Adult will over-winter in leaf litter and other protected sites. These same adults will emerge on spring when temperatures are a steady 70 degrees F. and begin the annual cycle again. There is only one generation a year in the Northeast.
There are 55 different species of stink bugs in Connecticut, 16 are predators that feed on other insects. The remaining 36 are plant feeders. these are the ones gardeners typically notice and are not happy about finding in their gardens. Damage to fruits and vegetables are from their piercing/sucking mouth parts injected into the produce as the insect sucks up the juices. Control measures are handpicking, row covers to keep the insects off of the plants and searching for and crushing egg rafts earlier in the season.
Connecticut has a new invasive stink bug from Asia. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was first found in the U.S. in 1998 in Pennsylvania. It has quickly spread east and north to us. BMSB can occur in high numbers damaging crops and is also quite a nuisance as it seeks over-wintering shelter in homes and buildings. Exclusionary measures of caulking and screening openings, such as vents and crevices will keep them out of the house.