Brown marmorated stink bug

Halyomorpha halys

Family: Pentatomidae

Order: Hemiptera


Brown refers to the overall colour of the bug.
Marmorated means variegated or veined like marble.
Stink refers to the pungent odour it emits when disturbed.
Bug refers to the group of insects that feed with sucking mouthparts.

Other Names:


Brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive, sucking insect shaped like a shield with various shades of brown and gray with off-white, black, copper, and bluish markings on both the top and undersides. There are alternating light bands on the antennae and dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. The legs are brown with faint white mottling or banding. When disturbed it emits an odour that smells like coriander.


Adult -
Colour - Brown and gray with off-white, black, copper, and bluish markings on both the top and undersides.
Body - Shield shaped. 12-17 mm long and wide.
Wings - wings do not completely cover the outside edges of the abdomen
Mouthparts - It has a proboscis to pierce the host plant to feed.
Antennae - alternating light bands.
Legs - The legs are brown with faint white mottling or banding.
Head - fairly rectangular. Small coppery or green patches on or near the head, appearing more metallic on ventral surfaces.
Thorax -
Abdomen - alternating dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. Habits - emits an odour that smells like coriander when disturbed.
Caterpillar - Produces nymphs rather than larvae. There are five nymph stages that range from less than 3 mm to 12 mm long. The nymphs are orange and black when they first hatch but quickly develop a similar colouration to the adults.
Eggs - Small, about 1.6 mm long, cream to yellow-orange and glossy in batches of about 28 eggs and usually on the underside of leaves.

Key Characters:

White stripes on the antennae.
Brown body with variable colouring, 12-17 mm long and shield shaped.
Small coppery or green patches on or near the head, appearing more metallic on ventral surfaces.
Black and white banding around the rear edge of body.
The underside of the body is generally pale yellow, sometimes with grey.

or black markings.
Produces a pungent odour that smells like coriander and due to trans-2-decenal and trans-2-octenal.
Hemelytra densely punctured with dark spots, with the corium reddish, spots may be metallic green in some areas;
Antennal segments brown with segment I internally, IV at the base and apex, and V at the base yellow spotted with black.
Connexiva with banded pattern, pale areas wedge-shaped in

central third of exposed tergites, with a very thin pale line also present along distal edge of segments.

Body ventrally generally pale yellow.

Vestiture: legs sparsely pubescent; rest of body glabrous.

Head: generally rectangular, fairly blunt-ended at front, with jugae mildly oblique; jugae nearly or as long as tylus.

Antennae: 5-segmented.

Rostrum: reaches abdominal sternite 3.

Pronotum: calli present; anterolateral margins straight and slightly crenulated.

Thoracic sterna: prosternum flat to shallowly sulcate; mesosternum with low raised keel;

metasternum flat.

Connexiva: exposed; laterotergites armed with very short blunt posterolaterally directed angles.

Nymphs - key distinguishing features:

Size: 2.4-12 mm long.

Colour: abdomen orange and red with black stripes, becoming darker with age; banding on legs and antennae appear on older nymphs.

Structure: similar to adults but without wings. A pair or series of small lateral

spines may be present around edge of thorax.


The male emits pheromones and vibration signals to communicate with a female, which replies with her own vibration signals.
The can survive long periods of time in hot or cold conditions.
It may fly clumsily around lights or be trapped by a UV light trap.
They are very mobile and capable of long-distance flight and walking dispersal. At least 85% of all individuals flew up to 5 km within 24 hours, although some individuals, termed long-distance fliers, flew >5 km or more and up to 117 km has been recorded.
Measurements of nymph and adult walking behaviour revealed that third instars walked significantly greater distances than adults did. In the field, fifth instars walked greater distances than third instars and up to 20 m within 4 hours.
It is polyphagous with a broad host range that includes over 170 plants.
BMSB females oviposit more frequently on crops with long fruiting periods, including some fruiting vegetables and they also feed on small fruit and grapes, sweet corn and soybeans.
Multiple host-plant species may be necessary for normal BMSB development.
BMSB secretes a thick, gel saliva from the salivary canal that hardens into a sheath that likely protects and guides the stylets for feeding. Proteins
composing this saliva are of plant and BMSB origin, whereas the watery saliva injected by the feeding stylets into the plant tissue to break down cells and enable consumption of liquid contents is of BMSB origin only and consists of several typical digestive enzymes, including amylases, proteases, and esterases. Maximal feeding by BMSB adults occurs between 160C and 170C and ceases below ~3-60C and above ~26-290C.
(Leskey T.C. Nielsen A.L., 2018)

Life Cycle:

The eggs are laid on leaves and hatch into nymphs which go through 5 instars before adulthood. The male uses pheromones and vibrations to attract a female who lays eggs. Oviposition begins once critical diapause-terminating cues are met. Females become reproductively mature after a developmental delay and can continue ovipositing and mating throughout their life span (i.e. synovigenic) which continues into late summer in Europe. Eggs are laid in masses of 28 (median number), predominantly on the underside of leaves. Laboratory studies in the United States found an average of 9.3 egg masses in a lifetime, whereas European field studies estimated fecundity to range from 2 to 15 egg masses per female, with higher oviposition rates within the overwintered adult generation. During oviposition, females transfer symbionts to the egg chorion surface. This bacterial symbiont, Pantoea carbekii, is essential for the development and survival of later instars. After hatching, first instars remain aggregated on the egg mass to acquire the symbionts, and disruption of this behaviour significantly reduces survivorship.
They often overwinter in concealed, sheltered locations, including beneath the bark of dead upright trees, in rocky outcroppings and a variety of man-made structures.
An adult stink bug can develop within 35 to 45 days after hatching.
A female can lay up to 400 eggs in her life.
There is one generation in cold areas and up to six generations in warmer areas.
The minimum and maximum temperatures for BMSB development are
130C and 36.50C. This equates to 538 DD and 588 DD to develop from the egg through the five instars to adult eclosion. Photoperiod, is probably a critical diapause cue.
Peak movement of adults to potential overwintering sites occurs around or soon after the autumnal equinox.
(Leskey T.C. Nielsen A.L., 2018)


It is often associated with tree of heaven and princess tree in gardens.
It hibernates in under bark or rocks and in houses, sheds and other structures over winter.

Origin and History:

Native to the East Asia, China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Found in the US in 1998 and had spread to 34 states and Canada by 2012.


Global distribution of established Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)) populations in the native range and in the invaded range by year of detection.
Seven detections had been recorded in Australia by 2018 in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
The WA detection was at Fremantle in December 2018.




It produces dimpled or necrotic areas on the outer surface of fruits, leaf stippling, seed loss and may transmit plant pathogens. It is an agricultural pest that can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops including apples, apricots, beans, cherries, corn, grape vines, peaches, pears, peppers, raspberries, soybeans, tomatoes.
In the mid-Atlantic region of the US in 2010, it has caused US$37 million in losses and severe damage to the apple crop, and many other specialty and row crops, including peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and soybeans.
BMSB feeding results in dry, corky tissue just below the surface of feeding sites.
(Leskey T.C. Nielsen A.L., 2018)
The nymph stages normally cause more damage than the adults.


Declared pest.

Management and Control:

In pulse crops the first signs are often green patches in the crop as it matures and a green edge effect often about 10 m wide.
Artificial pheromones have been developed to use in bait traps.
Repeated spraying is often required as new populations fly in after treatment.
Some populations have developed resistance to pyrethroid insecticides.
Several parasitoid wasps attack it in China. Slaters eat stink bug eggs. Wheel bugs eat eggs and may attack adults. Ground beetles (Carabidae), earwigs (Forficulidae), jumping spiders (Salticidae), and crickets (Gryllidae) were reasonably efficient predators of BMSB eggs.
Overwintered adults are easier to kill than F1 and F2 adults (85), thereby reducing the ability of even the best materials to adequately manage BMSB in the late season when populations are greatest.
Insecticidal soap, neem oil, essential oils, and capsaicin, were ineffective against adults (<30% mortality) but yielded higher mortality (>60%) against nymphs.
Border traps using preferred hosts are used for some crops.
Many tree fruit growers that applied materials labelled for native stink bug species reported extremely poor results.
In general, some synthetic insecticides are effective against BMSB in most affected conventional cropping systems as long as they are applied frequently when damaging BMSB populations are present, whereas organic systems are primarily limited to cultural or behavioural strategies.
(Leskey T.C. Nielsen A.L., 2018)


Low and difficult to predict as bugs fly in.

Related Species:

Green Vegetable Bug (Nezara divulsana)
Shield Bug (Pentatomidae species)
Aphids, Lerps, various bugs, leafhoppers and scales.

Similar Species:

Brochymena and Euschistus are similar but don't have a white band on the antennae.
Similar to Acrosternum, Euschistus and Podisus, except that several of the abdominal segments protrude from beneath the wings and are alternatively banded with black and white (visible along the edge of the bug even when wings are folded) and a white stripe or band on the next to last (fourth) antennal segment.

Yellow-spotted stink bug (Erthesina spp.) is larger and has small yellow spots.
Acacia shield bug (Alcaeus varicornis) has distinctive stripes on the head.
Golden brown shield bug (Anchises parvulus) has small black spots.
Brown long-headed shield bug (Austromalaya reticulate) has small brown spots and distinctive pale bands on the legs.
Zebra shield bug (Bathrus variegates) has metallic green markings.
Small brown stink bug (Caystrus pallidolimbatus) is brown with small darker spots.
Glossy shield bug (Cermatulus nasalis) is glossy brown with a lighter stripe down the middle.

Brown shield bug (Dictyotus caenosus) is light brown with dark spots but has similar stripes around the edges of the body.
Gum tree shield bug (Omyta centrolineata) has a distinctive white stripe from its head to the middle of its back.
Brown stink bug (Oncocoris apicalis) is greyish with a light stripe on its head.
Oncocoris geniculatus is mottled brown with long pale stripe running down the middle.
Gum tree shield bug (Poecilometis strigatus) is greyish brown with stripes on its head.
Gum tree shield bug (Theseus modestus) is dark with lots of small white patches on the body and stripes on the head.
Rice stink bug (Oebalus pugnax) is straw in colour, smaller in size, and is more elongated.


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991)

Leskey T.C. and Nielsen A.L. (2018). Impact of the Invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in North America and Europe: History, Biology, Ecology, and Management. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2018.63:599-618.

Aigner JD, Walgenbach JF, Kuhar TP. 2015. Toxicities of neonicotinoid insecticides for systemic control of brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in fruiting vegetables. J. Agric. Urban Entomol. 31:70-80.

Bergmann EJ, Raupp MJ. 2014. Efficacy of common ready to use insecticides against Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Fla. Entomol. 7:791-800.

DAWR (2017). Guide to the identification of brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, and other similar bugs.

Dively GP, Patton T, Coffey P, Ditillo J. 2013. Efficacy of organic insecticides for control of BMSB on pepper. Presented at Brown Marmorated Stink Bug IPMWork. Group Meet., Dec. 2013, Winchester, VA.

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Mohekar P, Osborne J, WimanNG, Walton V, Tomasino E. 2017. Influence of winemaking processing steps on the amounts of (E)-2-decenal and tridecane as off-odorants caused by brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). J. Agric. Food Chem. 65:872-78

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WADA (2018)

Zhu G, Bu W, Gao Y, Liu G. 2012. Potential geographic distribution of brown marmorated stink bug invasion (Halyomorpha halys). PLOS ONE 7:e31246


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