Raising stink about bugs

A new potentially devastating pest to the wine and fruit industry has arrived in Kelowna and BC Ministry of Agriculture officials are very concerned.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), a native pest of Asia, was first identified in North America in Pennsylvania in 2001. It has since spread throughout most of the United States.

"It is a very serious pest that feeds on more than 100 different plant species. In 2010, an estimated loss of $37 million due to brown marmorated stink bug feeding was reported by the apple industry in the Mid-Atlantic States," said Entomologist Susanna Acheampong

The stink bug is an excellent hitchhiker and can be moved in shipping containers, wood, packing material, cargo, and vehicles. It is also a nuisance to homeowners as the adults aggregate on and in buildings while seeking warm overwintering sites.

Brown marmorated stink bug was first detected in British Columbia in 2015 and is present at low levels in urban areas of Fraser Valley and Vancouver, Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley, as of October 2017. High numbers are present in the downtown Kelowna area.

"The concern is that they will spread to orchards, we found a few at monitoring stations in two orchards located close to the city," added Acheampong.

Countermeasures included insecticides, barrier sprays, pheromone traps, and entomologists are looking to see if a tiny wasp called the samurai wasp can be found in Canada, as they are a natural disruptor of the brown marmorated stink bug.

"We have set up more than 200 traps across the Okanagan Valley so we know the extent of the spread," said Acheampong

Growers and homeowners are asked to send pictures or samples of suspect brown marmorated stink bug to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture offices for contact information click here.

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