Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Custom-designed heat treatment systems for exporters
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an agricultural pest native to China, Japan, the Korean peninsula, and Taiwan. It was introduced into the United States in 1998 and recently established itself in Europe and South America. This photo shows late instar stages (4th and 5th) of brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) on a soybean leaf [Photo by Dilip Venugopal]. This bug is a serious, extremely versatile, agricultural insect pest that feeds on a wide array of plants including apples, apricots, Asian pears, cherries, corn, grapes, lima beans, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, and soybeans. New Zealand is specifically worried that the brown marmorated stink bug would attack grapes, kiwifruit, apples, citrus, and stone fruit, corn and many other crops valuable to their economy. To obtain their food, stink bugs use their stylets to pierce the plant tissue to extract the plant fluids. While harvesting the plant’s juices, the stink bug injects saliva into the plant, creating a dimpling of the fruit’s surface and rotting of the material underneath.
Dr David Teulon, the director of Better Border Biosecurity in New Zealand says,
Vehicles, machinery and other cargo coming out of USA and Italy have had to undergo mandatory pre-export treatment with methyl bromide, sulfuryl fluoride or heat since 2015 and 2017 respectively. This treatment is now being considered in Asia. Detector dogs have been trained to sniff-out Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs and are currently being used by MPI to find them on ships entering New Zealand waters and as they unload.
Our reseller in France informed us that beginning September 1, 2018, all cargo exported from France and the USA to Australia must also be heat treated or fumigated to combat the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug.
According to the Science Media Center of New Zealand, a number of car shipments were turned away at the border in March, 2018 because they were infested with Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. The bug has spread across the globe from its original home in East Asia and is one of New Zealand border security’s most wanted pests. Used vehicle importers and exporters around the world are using GreenTech Heat Solutions Titan propane heat systems to kill the brown marmorated stink bug in custom-designed heat chambers prior to leaving their native port.
Dr. Michael Rostás, senior lecturer in Entomology and Chemical Ecology at the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University stated,
In a worst-case scenario introduced Brown Marmorated Stink Bug would quickly establish in large parts of New Zealand, mainly in the North Island and the northern part of the South Island. In the US, it took the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug around 14 years after initial establishment to become one of the most significant pests in recent history.
The most common signs of stink bug damage are pitting and scarring of the fruit, leaf destruction, and a mealy texture to the harvested fruits and vegetables. In most cases the signs of stink bug damage makes the plant unsuitable for sale in the market because the skin of the fruit or vegetable is damaged and the insides are usually rotten.
The adults are approximately 1.7 centimeters (0.67 in) long and about as wide, forming the shield shape characteristic of other stink bugs. They are various shades of brown on both the top and undersides, with gray, off-white, black, copper, and bluish markings. The term marmorated means variegated or veined like marble. Markings unique to this species include alternating light bands on the antennae and alternating dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. The legs are brown with faint white mottling or banding. The stink glands are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs, and on the dorsal surface of the abdomen. [Jacobs, Steven B. (May 2009). Entomological Notes: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (PDF). Pennsylvania State University Department of Agriculture.]
The Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) requires all cargo imported into New Zealand to be clean and free of biosecurity contamination. Treatment options for the brown marmorated stink bug include heating. Goods must be treated using one of the following:
- Heat treatment at 132.8°F/56°C for 30 minutes for items of all sizes.
- Heat treatment at 140°F/60°C for 10 minutes for items weighing less than 3000kg.
- Heat treatment at 140°F/60°C for 20 minutes for items weighing more than 3000kg.
- Methyl bromide fumigation applied at a rate of at least a CT (concentration x time exposure) of 200 gh/m³ over a minimum of 12 hours at 50°F/10°C or above. This can be achieved by applying 24g/m³ for 12 hours at 50°F/10°C to 59°F/15°C (or greater) with an end reading of 12g/m³ (50% or more of the initial concentration).
- Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation applied at a rate of at least a CT of 200 gh/m3 over a minimum of 12 hours at 50°F/10°C or above. This can be achieved by applying 20g/m³ for 12 hours at 50°F/10°C or greater with an end reading of 14g/m³ (50% or more of the initial concentration).
It is interesting to note that treating an item for brown marmorated stink bugs with heat requires a maximum of 30 minutes once lethal temperatures are achieved compared to a minimum of 12 hours of fumigation. GreenTech Heat Solutions has created custom heat chambers for auto exporters in Japan that treat three vehicles per hour per chamber. This is three times more vehicles than can be treated and certified by fumigation.
Don’t get your shipment turned back at the port, and be prepared as additional countries respond to this pest. Call us today at to discuss your needs for safely killing brown marmorated stink bugs today.