Agricultural entomology: Asian bedbug

Agricultural entomology: Asian bedbug

Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Rincoti
Suborder: Heteroptera
Family: Pentatomoids
Kind: Halyomorpha
Species: H. halys Stål, 1855

Fruit-bearing (apple, pear, peach, plum, etc.), vines, vegetable plants (tomato and other solanaceae), luminous plants, cereals, ornamental plants.

Identification and damage

Species native to Japan, China, the Korean peninsula and Taiwan. In Italy, its presence was first reported in 2012.
In addition to causing damage to various cultivated plants, it is also very annoying for the habit of entering masses in homes to winter in the autumn season and for the tendency to group (unlike the green bedbug Nezara viridula) in numbers of several tens of individuals .
It is a large bug, longer than one centimeter (12 to 17 mm), which also resembles some of our local species. In particular, the bug that most closely resembles this species is Rhaphigaster nebulosa, a particularly stinky but completely harmless gray bug.

Biological cycle

In autumn, adults congregate en masse to winter in houses and other buildings. In spring, we witness the movements from the wintering sites to the host plants to feed.
Between the end of May and August, mating and egg laying occur (250/400 eggs per female). In temperate regions there are 1-2 generations per year.

Asian bedbug adult - Halyomorpha halys
(By USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory from Beltsville, USA - Brown marmorated stinkbug, U, back_2013-02-05-13.50.26 ZS PMax, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index. php? curid = 24495093)

Mating of the Asian bedbug - Halyomorpha halys

Struggle at home

Even if it is not dangerous for humans, it is necessary to fight it in the moment of maximum vulnerability: some precautions are enough to prevent Asian bedbugs in our homes from finding a good refuge for the winter! Here are some control strategies, preventive and containment, suggested by the Plant Health Service of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
What to do to prevent bedbugs from entering homes:
- place mosquito nets or anti-insect nets on the windows, around the chimneys of chimneys not in use, on the air intakes;
- seal cracks, crevices and all those accesses that allow the passage of bedbugs (pipes, ducts, slits, etc.).

What to do to eliminate unwanted guests:
- use cleaning tools for the steam house to flush out groups of bedbugs nested in bins, fixtures, pipes, etc.
- use the vacuum cleaner to collect the bugs that are in more easily accessible places (ceilings, verandas) or after having flushed them with steam. Spray ice bottles can also be used to drop bedbugs on the ground.

The bedbugs collected should not be freed outside, but must be eliminated immediately (it is advisable to immerse the container used to collect them in a basin of soapy water for a few minutes) to prevent them from nesting elsewhere and returning the following spring to the countryside to damage the crops.

Domestic use of insecticides that are not very effective and can become harmful to people is not recommended, while they can be used for the external treatment of fixtures, bins or other critical points (only if you leave the house for a few days) and of non-residential environments in which there are no food products.


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