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: Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits

Related Stories

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Blueprint for shape in ancient land plants

December 9, 2016

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge have unlocked the secrets of shape in the most ancient of land plants using time-lapse imaging, growth analysis and computer modelling.

Protein disrupts infectious biofilms

December 8, 2016

Many infectious pathogens are difficult to treat because they develop into biofilms, layers of metabolically active but slowly growing bacteria embedded in a protective layer of slime, which are inherently more resistant ...

An anti-CRISPR for gene editing

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a way to program cells to inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 activity. "Anti-CRISPR" proteins had previously been isolated from viruses that infect bacteria, but now University of Toronto and University of Massachusetts ...

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.