The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: What to Expect for Soybeans in 2021

February 5, 2021

Considered a new insect to Canada that will certainly be around for a while, the brown marmorated stink bug was first discovered in the Ontarian countryside in 2010. The first specimen was captured in Québec field crops more recently in 2014. Originally from Asia, this insect feeds mainly on fruit, vegetables and soybeans, and can cause damage leading to yield loss. 

Identifying this pest

The adult brown marmorated stink bug is easy to confuse with other species as it has the same characteristic shield-like shape as other members of the stink bug family. It has a length of 17 mm and its body has marbled, or “marmorated,” brown markings. It has alternating light and dark-coloured bands at the edge of the abdomen. The two light bands on its antennae and the absence of jagged edges on the pronotum and back of its head help differentiate it from other species. 

How does it damage soybeans?

A number of studies have assessed the impact of brown marmorated stink bugs feeding on soybeans. This species causes losses in both quality and yield. According to the MAPAQ, “the larvae and adults pierce the plant tissue and suck out the sap. The injection of enzymes into their feeding sites on the plant leaves necrotic spots. The entire aerial part of the plant can be affected.” Other possible damage includes green stem syndrome, and reduced pod filling, seed vigour and viability, and yield. 

How to control this pest

Parasitic wasps that attack insect eggs are the main natural enemies of the brown marmorated stink bug. As parasitism varies by region, it is not recommended as a reliable solution. A good intervention strategy should be implemented, beginning with prevention and the following good practices:

  • Avoid importing plants infested with marmorated stink bugs or their eggs.
  • Inspect products that enter or pass through the area.
  • Evaluate whether there are empty pods, damaged seeds or plants displaying delayed maturity at the edges of the fields.

Physical, biological and chemical control methods may also be adopted. Your Prograin representative can advise you. 

What should we expect in 2021?

It has not yet been proven or demonstrated that the brown marmorated stink bug can complete its life cycle in Québec in a sustainable manner. However, various scenarios demonstrate that this pest may become established between now and 2041 to 2070. Vigilance is key: recent observations and data confirm strong potential for the dispersion and establishment of the brown marmorated stink bug in Québec in the near future.