I have just been reminded by my colleague in Lexington that Brown Marmorated Stink (BMSB) continues to move and build in numbers in Kentucky.
BMSB was recently collected from soybeans in Fayette Co., still in very low numbers, but in fact they are beginning to utilize one of our major field crops as host/food source. If our sister state of Virginia is any indication, we can only expect that this will get worse.
|Fig. 1. Distribution of BMSB in KY;
2010 Brown, 2011 Orange, 2012 Yellow
From specimen collections and those sent in for identification, we know that BMSB has been in KY since at least 2010 probably traveling to us down the I-64 corridor. The current known distribution in KY is shown in Figure 1. Conversely, in our three- year (2010-12) stinkbug survey in soybeans, we captured only two BMSB juveniles late in the season in Carter Co. Additionally, in black light trap surveys in Fayette Co. (UK North Farms) and Caldwell Co. (UK-REC) no BMSB were collected in 2012 in either location and in 2013 none have been captured at either location through the time of this writing.
Given this situation BMSB will probably not be an economic problem in field crops this year. Nonetheless, one can expect them to become more common over the course of years.
Currently BMSBs in the Bluegrass appear to be making their move from host plants to overwintering sites. Dr. Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist located in Lexington, is seeing them cluster on the sides of buildings. This might be a good time for agricultural interests to gauge the presence of this pest.
Anyone noticing large numbers of brown stink bugs (not orange & black or red & Black bugs) congregated on the sides of buildings is encouraged to collect some and either take them to their local County Extension Office or send them to the UK Entomology Dept. in Lexington or the UK-REC in Princeton, KY, for identification. If you wish to send a photograph it is important to understand that we will need a clear, sharp picture of the antennae and upper, rear, side of the bug.This information will help us establish any changes in distribution and abundance of this pest in the commonwealth.
Given the current known distribution of BMSB in KY, it appears that the potential for infestation of grain crops will first come to eastern and central KY. We do know from our partner Land Grant Institutions in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania that this pest will infest both corn and soybeans and may be expected to cause considerable trouble.
In addition, BMSB will attack a large variety of fruits and vegetables. So, field crop farmers will not be the only ones facing problems. Commercial fruit and vegetable producers and even home gardeners may suffer major damage from this pest.