More brown marmorated stink bugs this year? Relax

spider captured a brown marmorated stinkbug in Amherst NY
This spider is about the same size of the brown marmorated stink bug it has snagged. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

two Chinese mantises mating on hosta leaves
Two Chinese mantises were mating on my neighbor’s hosta plant. I hope there will be more mantises to feed on the brown marmorated stink bugs. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Last year we got the good news that the population of brown marmorated stink bugs could be declining in Western New York.

But I saw more brown marmorated stink bugs this year than I did last year. Did you?

Don’t worry.

First of all, did you count the stink bugs this year? Or last year? Neither did I.

Maybe we had 20 in our house this year and six last year. Is that a big difference? Probably not.

Maybe the populations are higher this year because we had cooler summer temperatures, which the brown marmorated stink bugs like during their mating season. Or maybe there’s some other reason. Populations of insects can fluctuate from year to year without us knowing exactly why.

Even the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets isn’t counting brown marmorated stink bugs anymore. These pests are widespread but haven’t caused much damage, so the tracking has ended, said Liam Somers, state entomologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

That’s the big takeaway: We can relax because it looks like brown marmorated stink bugs aren’t going to eat up our gardens or farm fields. That was the big concern–these pests feed on a wide range of plants.

And keep in mind that Somers told us last year that more native animals are feeding on the brown marmorated stink bug. I saw that myself: A spider, perhaps a Neoscona crucifera, had caught one in its web.

The Chinese mantis isn’t a native insect, but it’s widespread here and eating brown marmorated stinkbugs, he said. I happened across a pair of Chinese mantises mating on a hosta. I hope there will be more mantises next year.

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