Issue 3, May 13, 2013

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs Starting To Make Their Spring Appearance

Another sure sign of spring and warm weather? Reports of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB)! In the past week a couple reports from around the state have filtered into my email, indicating that brown marmorated stink bug adults are starting to be found in and near homes.

During the spring, adults break their dormancy and move from their overwintering locations such as houses, garages, barns, and other dry places.  Like many invasive insects, the brown marmorated stink bug has a very long list of host plants it will feed on. In addition to several woody, ornamental trees, it feeds on many crops that are grown in Illinois--peaches, apples, grapes, soybeans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more. During the spring, adults mate and the females begin laying eggs. Egg laying will occur throughout the summer months. 

A single generation per year is expected for most of Illinois. Some areas of southern Illinois could experience another generation. Typically, the adults will begin to move to overwintering locations in September, with peak movement in late September and early October. Homeowners may start to see BMSBs begin gathering on homes, barns, and garages during this time.

BMSB has been making headlines in Illinois for a couple of years. After the first confirmation of this invasive insect was reported in the fall of 2010 (Cook County), additional reports continued in 2011 (Kane, McLean, and Champaign counties). In late 2012, BMSB was confirmed in Jacksonville (Morgan County) and the first report has also come out of the Quad Cities area (Scott County, Iowa).

Brown marmorated stink bug confirmed in shaded counties.

Adult BMSB have the typical "shield" shaped body of all stink bugs. In reference to their name, they have a marmorated or mottled brown color. Their antennae have distinct white bands; on the edge of their abdomen they have alternating black and white bands. The underside of the abdomen is white and the legs may also have faint white banding. There are several insects found in Illinois that are very similar in appearance, including the squash bug, common brown stink bug, western conifer seed bug, and spined soldier bug.

Brown marmorated stink bug.

Spined soldier bug.

Common brown stink bug.

Western conifer seed bug.

Squash bug.

Currently, the known distribution of this insect in Illinois is limited. The public is our primary source of information on the whereabouts of BMSB. We are very interested in where these insects may be and continue to try to determine where they are in Illinois. If you believe you have BMSB, we would be very interested in looking at it. To positively confirm any insect as BMSB, we need to look at an actual specimen. Suspect stink bugs may be sent to Kelly Estes, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL  61820. Please put stink bugs in a crush-proof container (pill bottle, check box, etc). You can also send a photo to for preliminary screening if you wish. (Kelly Estes)

Kelly Estes

Return to table of contents