East Asian stink bug is trapped for the first time in the UK

East Asian stink bug which invades homes and decimates soft fruit is trapped for the first time in the UK

  • Stink bug which releases a disgusting stench if disturbed is found in Britain
  • The insect wreaked havoc in Europe with crops ruined after heavy infestations
  • It feeds by sucking plant juices, which deforms leaves and fruit including apples 

A stink bug which invades homes and decimates soft fruit has been trapped for the first time in Britain.

The brown marmorated stink bug, native to East Asia, can be a nightmare for homeowners, entering houses through the cracks in old windows and door frames.

If disturbed or squashed, it releases a disgusting and long-lasting stench which can cause allergic reactions. 

The brown marmorated stink bug, native to East Asia, can be a nightmare for homeowners, entering houses through the cracks in old windows and door frames

Farmers were keen to keep it out of the UK, but an adult has been found at an RSPB nature reserve in Rainham Marshes, Essex.

The bug attacks more than 100 plant species including raspberries, apples, peaches and plums. 

It feeds by sucking plant juices, which deforms leaves and fruit and can leave rotting patches on their exterior.

Where there are heavy infestations, crops can be ruined. The insect has wreaked havoc in the US and Europe.

It is not believed to be a significant threat to British crops, however. In our climate it is unlikely to produce more than one generation a year, preventing it from reaching harmful levels.

Entomologist Dr Glen Powell, of the NIAB EMR horticultural research institute, said: ‘The bugs may be actively dispersing in search of mates and food plants.’

The bug, similar to the British shield bug and two-thirds of an inch long, is likely to enter the country in imported goods.

Farmers were keen to keep it out of the UK, but an adult has been found at an RSPB nature reserve in Rainham Marshes, Essex

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