Let me in! It’s cold outside….

With the season changing and evening temperatures dropping, there have been one or two visitors that have found their way indoors this fall. And we’ve seen a few wandering around on the outside of the house.  It’s the Tree Stink Bug, Brochymena spp., sometimes called Bark or Rough Stink Bug. They’re all looking for a warm place to spend the winter months. Most will hibernate in leaf litter or under the bark of a tree but they can feel the warmth of our man-made shelter and are drawn to it.

Tree Stink Bug

Tree or Rough Stink Bug

These true bugs have spent the summer gorging on flora with their piercing mouthpiece and now they are looking for a good hibernation spot. The one pictured above had hibernated in leaf litter and I uncovered it while putting my garden to bed for the winter.

The Tree Stink Bug is very similar in appearance to a more dangerous stink bug, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys, that has swept into the USA after being  accidentally introduced in the late 90’s. Two characteristics that can tell these two stink bugs apart are the toothed or ridged shoulders and the lack of white banding on the antennae on the Tree Stink Bug.

Tree Stink Bug

The Tree Stink Bug has ridges along the shoulder.  The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug does not. Click the photo to see the ridges up close.

Most folks are aware of the invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. In some areas of the country, the insects have invaded homes by the hundreds. And they are the cause of great damage to fruits and crops. Pesticides have limited effect on the insect and there is no natural enemy in our country. The insect has been spotted in one neighborhood in Portsmouth.  UNH Cooperative Extension Specialist, Alan Eaton, and State Entomologist Piera Siegert ask to be notified if you spot the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (BMSB) anywhere in New Hampshire. Check out the Wikipedia photo of the BMSB below. There is white banding on the antennae and there are no ridges on the shoulders.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug need to be reported if seen in NH. (Wikipedia photo)

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug needs to be reported if seen in NH.

4 thoughts on “Let me in! It’s cold outside….

  1. Wow. Who would look to tell the difference. We always have a few get in, or find them near door openings outside. I swat them quickly and throw them outside.
    Write about ladybugs. There are no two alike. We carefully gather each of the maybe 100 each we find inside over the month and transport them careful back outside. We found an all-black one this year. Sorry we didn’t get his photo.

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    • You should look closer. It may be just a nuisance to a homeowner but VA Tech entomologists have this to say: “It was found in Virginia in 2004 and by 2010, it was found throughout most of the Commonwealth. The BMSB feeds on a wide range of tree fruits and seed pods as well as many vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucurbits, and sweet corn. High densities of this pest species have also been seen in soybeans and corn. However, so far in Virginia, the most severely damaged crops have been tree fruit (apples and peaches)…For businesses such as hotels and restaurants and other commercial settings with public interface, the presence of high numbers of these bugs in the fall can have economic consequences.”

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  2. Pingback: A Living Toy Blog # 10 | emilykarn

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