Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission

Research Reports

Chemical mediation of aggregation by brown marmorated stink bug (2017)

WTFRC Project #
YEAR 0/0
Organization Project #
Title:Chemical mediation of aggregation by brown marmorated stink bug
PI:Peter J. Landolt
Organization:USDA-ARS, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA
 PDF version of report


Jocelyn Millar

University of California

 (951) 827-5821      


Department of Entomology

3401 Watkins Drive   

Riverside, CA 92521    


Cooperators:    Tracey Leskey, USDA, ARS Kearneysville, WV

Helmuth Rogg and Todd Adams, Oregon State Dept. Agric., Salem Oregon 



The overall objectives of the project were to discover and develop chemical attractants and attractant synergists for brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) based on their host-and mate-location behavior. The experimental objectives were to:

  1. Determine sex attraction responses of female BMSB, including physiological and environmental regulators of that behavior.
  2. Determine host plant preferences, and female and male BMSB attraction to host plant odor.
  3. Determine host plant effects on BMSB sexual pheromone behavior. 
  4. Isolate and identify plant kairomones that mediate or enhance BMSB attraction behavior.

Determine interactions between male BMSB pheromones and host plant kairomones, to develop superior attractants



1.      Both attraction and repulsion of bugs by plant odors was demonstrated. This provides initial target plants and a bioassay to use in isolating and identifying plant kairomones.

2.      Strong female BMSB attraction to males was demonstrated, providing opportunities to isolate a male-produced attractant, and a bioassay method to use for that purpose.  This behavior was subsequently shown to be related to male aggregation within shelters provided to them.

3.      A pheromone was recovered from solvent washes of jars housing male BMSB that is very attractive to females and is repellent to males. 

4.      An alarm pheromone response was demonstrated for BMSB.  This work is being pursued to determine the functions of alarm pheromone, and to understand the various roles of complex BMSB body odor and signal chemistry.

5.      Thigmotaxis was demonstrated. This behavior is important to study and understand the conditions under which BMSB aggregates, and then the roles of pheromones in that aggregation.

6.      An electro-antennal detector (EAD) was modified for the BMSB antenna and its effectiveness was demonstrated using BMSB and published pheromone chemicals. This system was then used to determine which compounds in defensive secretions are detected by BMSB, and which compounds in samples of male volatiles are detected by female BMSB. 

7.      The volatile chemistry of BMSB males and females was characterized and compared, to provide a baseline from which to detect and determine chemical signaling.

8.      The volatile chemistry of BMSB defensive/alarm secretions was characterized. A set of these chemicals were found to be repellent to paper wasps that are potential predators, affirming the defensive roles of these compounds.

9.      A new combination of pheromone lure and trap was found to be significantly more effective in capturing BMSB, compared to the most-used commercial trapping system.