Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
MDA confirms first detection of brown marmorated stink bug in Minnesota
The brown marmorated stink bug has been making a nuisance of itself across the eastern U.S., but Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) scientists never expected the first detection of the pest in Minnesota would be in their own department's laboratory building in St. Paul.
Late last week, laboratory staff found an unusual insect on some new equipment that had been delivered to the lab building. They contacted the MDA's Plant Protection Division, where staff confirmed the insect was the first brown marmorated stink bug found in Minnesota.
Native to Asia, the pest was first identified in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2001. It has since been reported across the mid-Atlantic region and in Oregon. The bug typically spreads to new areas by flying or by stowing away in shipping containers or vehicles. It is unclear how the insect arrived in the laboratory building. However, MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe said it is likely the insect hitched a ride inside the boxes containing the new lab equipment which had been shipped from the eastern U.S. In response to this discovery, MDA is searching the laboratory to find and eradicate any other stink bugs that may have arrived.
"It's not unusual for this pest to move to a new area inside a box or other shipping container, but it is very unusual for the first detection of a pest species to occur in a building of the regulatory agency that is looking for it," Friisoe said. "This bug could cause problems for some plant species here in Minnesota, so we're going to do our best to eradicate the population whether it's one bug or a dozen."
The adult bugs are a half-inch long, mottled brown, and shaped like a shield.Ê The species is distinguished from other brown bugs by its alternating black-and-white color pattern on the margins of the abdomen, and its dark antennae with light-colored bands. The bugs feed on the fruits, leaves, stems and seeds of a wide variety of plants and are known to be a significant pest of fruit trees, vegetables and soybeans. In addition to their impact as a plant pest, the bugs often become a nuisance to homeowners when they enter homes and other buildings in the autumn to escape the cold. The insects release a foul-smelling odor when disturbed.
More information and pictures of this insect pest can be found on MDA's website at www.mda.state.mn.us. Minnesotans who believe they have found the insect on their own property can contact the department's Arrest the Pest Hotline at (651) 201-6684, or (888) 545-6684. Potential detections can also be reported to MDA staff by e-mail at