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Stink bug closes in on wine country.

Napa, Calif.--The brown marmorated stink bug (also known as BMSB or Halyomorpha halys), which already has become a threat to winemaking in the fast-emerging mid-Adantic states, has established itself in parts of California and seems sure to pop up in Napa and Sonoma counties soon.

Chuck Ingels, farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County, which is infested with the bugs, discussed BMSB at a recent Napa Valley Grapegrowers' Sustainable Viticultural Practices Seminar.

The BMSB can damage grapes by piercing and feeding on the fruit, which can lead to increased susceptibility to bunch rots, and by possibly imparting its odor to wine.

The distinctive odor excreted by the bug as a defense is trans-2-decenal and trans2-octenal. It smells like fresh cilantro but to some observers is "skunky," "citrusy" or "piney." It is apparent in fresh must, but different studies have disagreed on its impact in finished wines.

A study by Joe Fiola at the University of Maryland in 2010 found perceptible aroma in juice at levels of 5-10 bugs per lug, but no distinguishable taint in the juice after four months.

With 10-20 BMSB per lug, there was perceptible aroma during red fermentation but again no distinguishable aroma in the wine following fermentation and racking.

At Oregon State University (Tomasino et al., 2013 ASEV abstracts), they tested one bug per four clusters of Pinot Noir, one bug per two clusters and no bugs. They detected distinct aroma during destemming and pressing with bugs present, and the resulting wines contained more trans-2-decenal than the control. The infected wines were perceived as different from the control.

Elizabeth Tomasino of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University also has conducted BMSB research that will be published soon.

BMSB is a crop pest native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in East Asia, though it now inhabits several agricultural regions of the United States.

It was first found in the United States in Allentown, Pa., in 1996, but wasn't identified until 2001. It's a major nuisance pest in the fall and winter, when the insects gather in great numbers and seek shelter from the cold inside.

The BMSB was detected in California in 2014 and now is established in Butte, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Sutter and Yolo counties. It has been intercepted in other counties as well.

The bugs first inhabit urban areas, then move to agriculture.

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Caption: Marbled legs are an identifying feature of the brown marmorated stink bug.


Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

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Comment:Stink bug closes in on wine country.(WINE INDUSTRY NEWS)
Author:Franson, Paul
Publication:Wines & Vines
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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