Scottish growers warned about stink bug threat

The brown marmorated stink bug wreaks havoc on a wide range of crops
The brown marmorated stink bug wreaks havoc on a wide range of crops

Scottish growers must take adequate steps to monitor growing areas for the brown marmorated stink bug, researchers have said.

Even though it has not yet been detected north of the border, experts have warned it poses a new potential threat to the British farming industry.

The Halyomorpha halys stink bug can be found in every continent in the northern hemisphere, including North America and mainland Europe.

The bug has even been intercepted at UK ports and is now confirmed to be present in the south of England.

It has a wide host range including soft and tree fruit, field vegetables and ornamentals.

Scientists placed sex pheromone traps at strategic points around Scotland - including near transport hubs and in soft fruit growing areas - to attract the bug if it was present.

They also developed a DNA fingerprinting method to help distinguish it from similar, less damaging species.

Although the bug was not found in any of the Scottish traps, researchers used climate modelling to highlight polytunnels as key areas for the establishment of the pest.

Gaynor Malloch, a plant scientist at the James Hutton Institute and lead author of the report, said there was a possibility that it could establish in Scotland.

“Under the current outdoor temperatures experienced in Scotland, it is unlikely that the bug could successfully complete a generation and become established as a pest if it remains outdoors.

"However, there is a possibility that it could establish if it were to spend some time indoors in the winter months as well as outdoors."

Ms Malloch added that if the brown marmorated stink bug appeared, it would establish itself in Scotland slower than the rest of the UK.

"There is, therefore, the potential to attempt eradication or to manage individual outbreaks carefully to prevent spread," she said.

“Growers are already vigilant when it comes to monitoring pests and diseases in their crops and we hope that they will keep a close eye out for this particular pest.”

To report suspected findings of the stink bug in Scotland, contact the Scottish Government’s Horticulture and Marketing Unit at