Like many invasive species, BMSB has a long list of host plants,
including many woody ornamental trees as well as several
agricultural crops, including fruit trees, grapes, tomatoes,
corn, soybeans and others. Also, like many other invasive
insects, it is easily moved from location to location by humans.
This happens, for example, with the insect hitchhiking on
vehicles and during movement of shipping materials and plants.
In addition to feeding on plants, BMSB is also considered a
nuisance pest to homeowners. Much like boxelder bugs or
multicolored Asian lady beetles, these stink bugs congregate on
houses in late fall and move indoors. Homeowners are likely to
first spot new infestations as these insects will initially feed
on common landscape ornamentals.
Unlike many insect pests that attack plants only during
certain times of the growing season, the BMSB will feed on host
plants all season long. This causes great concern in fruit
crops, where the insects begin feeding early in the season and
continue through harvest. Growers should monitor fruit for
sunken areas where the insect has fed. Discolored and corky
areas will be present under the skin of the fruit. In corn and
soybean, BMSB feed on the developing pod or corn ear. The
insects are able to feed through the husks and pods with their
sucking mouthparts, causing shriveled kernels and beans,
respectively. In tomatoes and peppers, feeding will also result
in corky areas and discoloration, much like injury in fruit.
A group of problems showing up is galls. Galls are swelling
of leaves, twigs or other plant parts. Most are caused by mites
or wasps. They damage the plant parts and the plant responds
with a gall. In the case of leaves, the swelling is actually
leaf tissue. This is something I like to refer to as similar to
you getting a mosquito bite. The damage comes in and a swelling
occurs. There is no way to get rid of it without tearing a small
hole in the leaf.
The maple leaf bladder gall will be easily spotted on silver
maples in the area shortly, and oak leaves in the red oak group
are also showing galls. Oak trees probably have more galls than
any other group of trees. Several samples have also been brought
in of the stem types of galls. Fortunately, the oak galls are
usually not the type to kill tissue beyond them.
Galls aren't the most pleasant things to look at. That is the
main thing -- they are unsightly.
There is no cure for galls, as they are caused by insects
before you see the swellings. The timing would be impossible to
try to prevent the insects.
We are on the
early end of the time period for planting tender vegetables
such as snap beans, sweet corn, New Zealand spinach and
tomato plants. The dates are April 25 to May 10.
May 10 begins the time for planting
warm-loving vegetables such as squash, melons, cucumbers and
sweet potato slips. This is also a "more assured" date for
planting annual flowers.
University of Illinois Extension]