Invasive Non-Native Pests: The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Native to East Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys; Fig. 1) damages fruit, vegetables, berries and field crops (Leskey and Nielsen, 2018). The species was introduced into the USA towards the end of the 20th century, and spotted for the first time in Europe (in Zurich) in 2004 (Wermelinger et al., 2008). By now, it is already present in many European countries (Haye et al., 2015). The bug is 12 to 17 mm long and active from April to October. South of the Alps it usually produces two generations, north of the Alps one generation per year. For overwintering, it seeks out sheltered spots on outdoor walls or in buildings.

Two brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) sit on a green leaf.
Figure 1. Adult specimens of the brown marmorated stink bug.
© Agroscope (Arnaud Conne)

Since its first sighting the canton of Zurich in 2004, the brown marmorated stink bug has spread over large parts of Switzerland, including the Central Plateau, the area around Basel, between Bern and Lake Geneva, Ticino, and recently, the Valais. These observations coincide with the potential range calculated with the aid of a bioclimatic simulation model (CLIMEX; Kriticos et al., 2017) (Fig. 2).

The graphic displays two maps of Switzerland. Using a colour scale ranging from light- to dark-red, they show the potential distribution ranges of the brown marmorated stink bug at present and towards the end of the 21st century.  Under current conditions, the range extends across the Swiss Central Plateau, from Geneva up to Schaffhausen, as well as across the canton of Jura. Further distribution areas are found in low-lying valleys such as the Rhone and Rhine valleys, as well as in Ticino. In future, the potential range will extend into higher altitudes, and include the greater Jura region, the Alpine foothills and central Switzerland, the Graubünden and Ticino valleys, and the lateral valleys of the Valais.
Figure 2. Potential distribution of the brown marmorated stink bug under current (1981–2010) and future (2070–2099) climate conditions. The maps show how suitable the climate at a given location is for the longer-term survival of the insect. Results of simulations with the CLIMEX model. The CH2011 A2 climate scenarios form the basis for the calculation of the map on the right.
© Climex | FiBL

According to results of simulations with the same model, in future the range of the brown marmorated stink bug is likely to expand further, encompassing the entire agricultural production area of Switzerland towards the end of the current century, although increasing heat stress could limit its growth potential in southern Switzerland. North of the Alps, the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug will be favoured by milder winters and higher spring and autumn temperatures. In all regions, an additional generation per year can be expected in future.

The search for an effective control strategy is elusive, since the bug attacks many plant species, is exceptionally mobile, and is resistant to authorized insecticides. Monitoring is therefore all the more important. Since 2004, The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) has been running a web platform with information and up-to-date detection notifications. In 2017, the agricultural sector launched a joint national monitoring scheme involving Agroscope, FiBL, CABI and cantonal plant-protection services. An optimised monitoring with a mobile app is also the aim of the Interreg Oberrhein ‘InvaProtect’ Project.

Additional Information


References Cited in the Text

Haye, T., Gariepy, T., Hoelmer, K., Rossi, J.P., Streito, J.C., Tassus, X., Desneux, N., 2015. Range expansion of the invasive brown marmorated stinkbug, Halyomorpha halys: an increasing threat to field, fruit and vegetable crops worldwide. J. Pest Sci., 88, 665-673.

Kriticos, D.J., Kean, J.M., Phillips, C.B., Senay, S.D., Acosta, H., Haye, T., 2017. The potential global distribution of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, a critical threat to plant biosecurity. J. Pest Sci., 90, 1033-1043.

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., 63(1), 599–618.

Wermelinger, B., Wyniger, D., Forster, B., 2008. First records of an invasive bug in Europe: Halyomorpha halys Stal (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), a new pest on woody ornamentals and fruit trees? Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 81, 1-8.


Further reading

Eitzinger, J., Kersebaum K.C., Formayer H., 2009. Landwirtschaft im Klimawandel – Auswirkungen und Anpassungsstrategien für die Land- und Forstwirtschaft in Mitteleuropa. AgriMedia, ERLING Verlag GmbH, Clenze (Germany).

FOEN, 2012. Adaptation to climate change in Switzerland. Goals, challenges and fields of action. First part of the Federal Council’s strategy. Adopted on 2 March 2012. Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Bern, Switzerland.

FOEN, 2014. Anpassung an den Klimawandel in der Schweiz. Aktionsplan 2014-2019. Zweiter Teil der Strategie des Bundesrates vom 9. April 2014. Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Bern, Switzerland.

FOEN, 2016. Strategie der Schweiz zu invasiven gebietsfremden Arten. Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Bern, Switzerland.

Marbot, B., Fischler, M., Schoop, J., Felder, D., Barth, L., Schild, A., Hasler, S., Fuhrer, J., Stoeckli, S., 2014. Anpassung der Landwirtschaft an den Klimawandel. Teil 1: Monitoring von Klimawandel-bedingten Veränderungen; Teil 2: Frühwarnung vor Klimawandel-bedingten Risiken. Agridea, Eschikon, Switzerland.

Last modification 12.11.2018

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Sibylle Stöckli

Arthropod Biological Control

Tim Haye

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