The dirty dozen have become the stinking 13 with the latest invasive pest alert by USDA-APHIS and university entomologists across the U.S. for growers to be on the lookout for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

BMSB joins Asian citrus psyllid, Asian longhorned beetle, citrus greening, emerald ash borer, European grapevine moth, European gypsy moth, false codling moth, light brown apple moth, Mediterranean fruit fly, Mexican fruit fly, Oriental fruit fly, and sudden oak death and dangerous invasive pests.

BMSB has been found in 29 states. It has become established in northwest Oregon and has been found in Vancouver, Wash. One was picked up five years ago in a storage facility in Vallejo, Calif., where a family from Pennsylvania recently relocated. It was also found two years ago in air freight at a Southern California airport.

Eastern Pennsylvania is where it was first collected in the U.S. in September 1998. It was believed to have reached the U.S. on a cargo ship from Asia.

Larry Hull, a Pennsylvania State University entomologist based at the Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, Penn., said even through it has since been found in parts of New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, the insect had not caused any significant damage to tree fruit crops until this past season. “Some growers in Maryland and northern Virginia had complained about damage from the insect in 2009,” Hull says. “But, 2010 was the first year when things really got out of hand.”

This past season, he notes, some Pennsylvania peach growers lost as much as 50 percent to 60 percent of their crop to the insect which feeds directly on the fruit. “All the forces (early bloom and very, dry warm weather) came together to create very high BMSB populations and caught everyone off guard,” he says.

Among other crops, it feeds on grapes, citrus, blackberry, sweet corn, field corn and soybeans.

According to entomologist Walt Bentley, University of California IPM specialist based at the UC Kearney Ag Center in Parlier, Calif., BMSB has been found in tree fruit orchards in Oregon.

Growers should take finds of unknown stinkbugs seriously and report them to county agriculture commissioners immediately.

“We missed EGVM for a few years and then it became established,” he says. Unlike EGVM, BMSB poses a bigger threat since it feeds on a host of cultivated, ornamental and wild hosts.

(BMSB) is native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan where it is a major economic pest, attacking a variety of high value crops.

Adult BMSB resemble other stinkbugs. They have a marbled pattern on their backs and specialized mouthparts that enable them to penetrate and feed on plant tissues. Feeding results in deformed fruit (cat‐facing), and internal brown spotting that renders the fruit unsuitable for the fresh market.

The BMSB can emit a foul odor; the presence of BMSBs in wine grape clusters at harvest and crush may contaminate the fruit and impart their foul bitter‐sweet odor to the wine.

The name “marmorated” is from the Latin word for marble, “marmor.” The back of the adult has a marble-like pattern, hence the name.