Invasive stink bug turns up in Hennepin County

The department says an employee of a pest control company found the insect at a Plymouth business last week. It's unclear how the invasive pest arrived at the business.
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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture today confirmed a detection of brown marmorated stink bug in the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth. This is the first time the pest has been found in Hennepin County.

An employee of a local pest control company found the bug at a Plymouth business last week during a routine service stop. The pest control company reported the find to the University of Minnesota, which in turn asked MDA scientists to confirm the insect’s identification. It is unclear how the insect arrived at the business.

Native to Asia, brown marmorated stink bug is a relatively new invasive insect pest that has spread to 33 states since it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2001. While not yet common in Minnesota, it previously has been found in Ramsey, Anoka, Washington and Winona counties. The adult bugs are a half-inch long, mottled brown, and shaped like a shield. The species is distinguished from other brown bugs by an alternating black-and-white color pattern on the margins of its abdomen, and dark antennae with light-colored bands.

The bugs feed on the fruits, leaves, stems and seeds of a wide variety of plants including fruit trees, vegetables and soybeans. In addition to their impact as a plant pest, the bugs can become a nuisance to homeowners when they enter homes in the autumn to escape the cold. The stink bugs release a foul-smelling odor when disturbed.

Brown marmorated stink bug can spread to new areas by flying, but according to MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe, it tends to spread faster when people give it accidental assistance.

“It’s not unusual for this pest to move to a new area inside a box or other shipping container,” Friisoe said. “This bug could cause problems for some plant varieties here in Minnesota.”

The best protection for home owners is to seal cracks and crevasses through which stink bugs might enter a home, similar to prevention for box elder bugs and Asian lady beetles. When present in low numbers, stink bugs can be disposed of in soapy water. Larger infestations may require professional pest control.

Pictures and more information about brown marmorated stink bug can be found on MDA’s website at www.mda.state.mn.us. Minnesotans who believe they found the insect on their property should capture it and contact MDA’s Arrest the Pest Hotline at 651-201-6684 or 1-888-545-6684. Potential detections can also be reported by email at Arrest.the.Pest@state.mn.us.

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