Paris apartments invaded by Asian stink bugs

Pest native to rural Japan and China turns up in Europe – and appears to have acquired urbane city tastes

Colin Drury@colin__drury
Friday 19 October 2018 13:47
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Six generations of the brown marmorated stink bug can be born within a single year
Six generations of the brown marmorated stink bug can be born within a single year

It is an Asian insect notorious for causing widespread destruction of crops across rural Japan, China, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula.

Now, however, it seems the brown marmorated stink bug has acquired more urbane tastes, arriving in France and infesting Parisian apartments.

The pest – so named because of the pungent odour it omits – was first spotted in the country in 2015.

But as winter approaches, they have migrated to cities and invaded homes to hibernate.

“Since September, we have been overrun by calls and sightings from inhabitants in nearly every Paris arrondissement from north to south,” biodiversity expert Romain Garrouste told Ouest France.

“For this insect, this time of year marks a period of investigating possible hibernation locations for the adults. Our houses are nicely heated and sheltered, making them perfectly welcoming.”

It is not good news for Parisians. The bugs – which grow to about 17 millimetres in size – are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they arrive, and tend to multiply quickly.

After being accidentally introduced to the US in 1998, they have spread to more than 40 states and caused millions of pounds worth of damage to crops. In optimum conditions six generations can be born within a single year. They eat whatever is to hand including apples, apricots, corn, lima beans, peppers and soybeans.

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Killing them in the home is not recommended either. While the stink bugs are harmless enough, once dead they continue to release their odour.

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