Just before Christmas, a large adult stink bug — so named because they emit a foul smell when feeling threatened — was found in the North of England associated with a consignment of wood imported from China. It was identified by the University of Durham as the yellow spotted stink bug (Erthesina fullo) and this was confirmed at Fera.
This hitchhiker is native to Asia and feeds on more than 57 different plant species, including several economically important fruit crops grown in the UK, such as apple, cherry, peach, and pear. The bugs suck out the plant juices with their needle-like mouthparts but are harmless to humans.
The potential risk posed by this invasive bug to plant health in England and Wales is being assessed by Defra and will be added the UK Plant Health Risk Register. The bug does not occur in the UK and any suspected findings must be reported to the relevant authority. The related brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), also native to Asia, has recently become a major economic pest in parts of southern and central Europe.
Yellow spotted stink bugs are a pest of apple
Protecting plant health in England and Wales
Fera provides a plant pest and disease diagnostic service that supports Defra in safeguarding plant health in England and Wales for the benefit of people, economy, and environment, by preventing the introduction of harmful pests. To learn more about UK Plant Health, you can visit the Defra UK Plant Health Portal here, and to find out about the full breadth of our Crop Health diagnostics capability, you can click here.
Adult Yellow spotted stink bugs range in size from 18-23 mm in length
and are larger than any other shield bug found in Britain
Click here to view or download our ‘Whole Food System’ Science Strategy.
- UK Plant Health Risk Register: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/phiw/riskRegister/
- Reporting a pest: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/pests-and-diseases/reporting-a-pestdisease/
- Brown marmorated stinkbug: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/factsheets/Halyomorpha-halys-Defra-Pest-Factsheet-March-2021-FINAL.pdf
- Defra plant health portal: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/
- Crop Health diagnostics capability: https://www.fera.co.uk/crop-health/plant-clinic