Keep an eye out for this little stinker

The provincial Ministry of Agriculture is asking South Okanagan residents to help it conduct a little bit of surveillance.

The ministry is asking residents to be on the lookout for any brown marmorated stink bugs, (Halyomorpah halys) that may be seeking winter refuge inside homes and buildings.

The adults are brown, about 13 to 17 mm long, and can be distinguished from other brown stink bugs by the presence of distinctive white bands on the antennae and their tendency to cluster together in groups.

The bug does not pose a risk to people, but can be devastating to tree fruits, berries, grapes, vegetables and ornamental plants, and a nuisance to homeowners as the adults aggregate on and in buildings while seeking warm overwintering sites.

The bugs were found in B.C. for the first time in 2016. A few were identified in Penticton in the spring and summer, and several more in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver and Chilliwack. The bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can be moved in shipping containers, wood, wood-packing material, cargo and vehicles

The brown marmorated stink bug, a native pest of Asia, was first identified in North America in Pennsylvania in 2001. It has since spread throughout the mid-Atlantic states and is present in California, Oregon and Washington.

The bug is a very serious pest that feeds on more than 100 different plant species and causes tens-of-millions of dollars of fruit losses annually in the United States.

B.C. growers and homeowners are asked to report any suspect brown marmorated stink bug to Susanna Acheampong, Ministry of Agriculture at Susanna.Acheampong@gov.bc.ca

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