Help The USDA Count Stink Bugs in West Virginia

Sep 16, 2014

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville is hosting a second year of its Great Stink Bug Count in the hopes more data will help answer previous questions about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

In 2013, five different categories were studied to understand why the stink bug is attracted to certain areas versus others. These categories included landscape, color, home exterior material, cardinal direction, and peak activity.

The USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station is looking for more “citizen scientists” to participate in helping to gather data for this year. It asks participants to count the number of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs on the exterior of their homes from September 15th to October 15th.

2013 Great Stink Bug Count Preliminary Results:

  • Total Number of Participants Who Returned Data
    • 299
  • Total Number of Participants Who Counted Everyday
    • 44
  • Total Number of States Participating
    • 11- Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia
  • Largest Total Number of BMSBs Counted
    • 30, 220
  • Smallest Total Number of BMSBs Counted
    • 0
  • Mean Number of BMSBs Counted Per Household
    • 2,083
  • Landscape Type Generating the Greatest Counts
    • Mixed Agriculture & Woodlands
  • Color of Home with Greatest Counts
    • Brown
  • Type of Home Exterior With Greatest Counts
    • Wood
  • Cardinal Direction Yielding Greatest Counts
    • North
  • Peak Date of BMSB Activity
    • October 1, 2013

Q&A with Dr. Tracy Leskey, Research Entomologist, USDA-Appalachian Research Station

  1. What's new this year in the stink bug count? 

“We are using the same protocol as last year BUT we want to confirm some of the patterns that we observed last year AND to see if we can observe differences in the size of the population relative to 2013.”

  1. Goals for this year?

“The goal is to better understand where Brown Marmorated Stink Bug chooses to overwinter. Are there specific visual cues (color of home) or building materials that could influence their choice?  How important is the landscape in terms of the numbers that show up?  Do we see a particular side of the home that is favored?  Is there a peak date of activity around the region?” 

  1. How can the community get involved?

“They can become citizen scientists and agree to count the number of stink bugs showing up on the exterior of their homes between September 15 and October 15, 2014.”

  1. What’s interesting or different about this year? 

“There has been a great deal of discussion about the size of the population – that the 2014 population is smaller than 2013.  This count will help establish if this is truly the case.”

To participate in this year's count, you can find an application on the Stop BMSB website.