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April 8, 2018 – In recent months, the Nevada County Department of Agriculture has made two detections of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), which is an invasive species native to Eastern Asia. BMSB was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2001, and by 2004 it made its way across the United States into Oregon.
BMSB are identified by several characteristics, but the main one is their distinct shield shape. The adults are approximately 5/8 inches in length and are a marbled brown. They also have white bands on their antennae, legs, and along the abdomen edges.
The brown marmorated stink bug does not pose a health and safety issue, but its presence can be detrimental to Nevada County agriculture. BMSB has a growing host list of more than 100 plants, including tree fruit, vegetables, shade trees, and leguminous crops. The insect primarily damages fruit and are a serious pest of many fruit and fruiting vegetable crops, including grapes. In 2016, Nevada County produced $1,926,800 in wine grapes and $1,771,000 in vegetable crops, making the protection of local crops particularly important.
With BMSB being introduced into our ecosystem, this means that this invader has no natural enemies. That being said, growers that have an established Integrated Pest Management plan should be able to maintain this pest below economic thresholds and continue to produce their crops without drops in yield.