A natural way to monitor, and possibly control populations of, stink bugs

July 16, 2014

Anyone who has squashed a stink bug knows why they got their name. Although just a nuisance to homeowners, the insects feed on and damage fruits and vegetables, causing significant economic losses for farmers. Now scientists report in ACS' Journal of Natural Products that they've discovered certain stink bug pheromone components and made them artificially in the lab for the first time, and these substances can be used to monitor and manage their populations.

Ashot Khrimian and colleagues explain that the brown , also known as Halyomorpha halys, is an invasive pest from Asia that now is found in most of the U.S., as well as parts of Canada and Europe. These flat, "shield-shaped" insects flap around noisily in homes, especially in the fall, as they seek places to hibernate during the winter. But the real problem lies in their summer activities, when they eat fruits, vegetables and other important crops. It's these summer activities that have prompted efforts to reduce their populations. These stinkers emit pheromones, or chemicals, that tell others of their species to come closer. Scientists could potentially use the substances to lure brown marmorated stink bugs to a specific spot so that they can count them and determine better ways to manage their expanding numbers, as they do for other insects.

Khrimian's team discovered and reported the chemical architectures of two pheromone components. They did this by studying closely related compounds. When used out in field tests, the two components attracted adult and juvenile brown marmorated stink bugs. Because these compounds didn't have to be pure, the researchers could use relatively inexpensive mixtures to trap this .

Explore further: Biology and management of the green stink bug

Related Stories

Biology and management of the green stink bug

September 26, 2012

The green stink bug is one of the most damaging native stink bug species in the United States. Stink bugs feeding on cotton, soybeans, tomatoes, peaches, and other crops can result in cosmetic damage as well as reduced quality ...

Combating USDA's top-ranked invasive insect

January 7, 2013

First detected in the United States a decade ago, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states, is wreaking havoc in homes and gardens, and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables ...

Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits

March 25, 2014

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an important pest of fruits and vegetables. To counter them, some home gardeners use pheromone-baited traps that are designed to attract, trap, and kill them. ...

Recommended for you

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, study finds

September 1, 2015

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline ...

Male seahorse and human pregnancies remarkably alike

September 1, 2015

Their pregnancies are carried by the males but, when it comes to breeding, seahorses have more in common with humans than previously thought, new research from the University of Sydney reveals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.