Cold tolerance, water balance, energetics, gas exchange, and diapause in overwintering brown marmorated stink bugs


Ciancio, J.J., Turnbull, K.F., Gariepy, T.D., Sinclair, B.J. (2021). Cold tolerance, water balance, energetics, gas exchange, and diapause in overwintering brown marmorated stink bugs. Journal of Insect Physiology, [online] 128

Plain language summary

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive insect from Asia that is established in Canada. This insect is a serious pest of a number of important field, fruit, and vegetable crops. To better understand how the insect survives throughout the winter, we investigated the cold tolerance, energy stores, and water balance throughout the season. The results showed that in order to survive the winter in Ontario, BMSB must seek shelter in man-made structures (houses, building, etc.). Overwintering BMSB also showed lower water loss and metabolic rates, indicating that they adapt in order to prevent dessication and starvation during the winter months.


Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is an emerging pest which established in Ontario, Canada, in 2012. Halyomporpha halys overwinters in anthropogenic structures as an adult. We investigated seasonal variation in the cold tolerance, water balance, and energetics of H. halys in southwestern Ontario. We also induced diapause in laboratory-reared animals with short daylength at permissive temperatures and compared cold tolerance, water balance, energetics, and metabolism and gas exchange between diapausing and non-diapausing individuals. Halyomorpha halys that overwintered outside in Ontario all died, but most of those that overwintered in sheltered habitats survived. We confirm that overwintering H. halys are chill-susceptible. Over winter, Ontario H. halys depressed their supercooling point to c. −15.4 °C, and 50% survived a 1 h exposure to −17.5 °C. They reduce water loss rates over winter, and do not appear to significantly consume lipid or carbohydrate reserves to a level that might cause starvation. Overall, it appears that H. halys is dependent on built structures and other buffered microhabitats to successfully overwinter in Ontario. Laboratory-reared diapausing H. halys have lower supercooling points than their non-diapausing counterparts, but LT50 is not enhanced by diapause induction. Diapausing H. halys survive desiccating conditions for 3–4 times longer than those not in diapause, through decreases in both respiratory and cuticular water loss. Diapausing H. halys do not appear to accumulate any more lipid or carbohydrate than those not in diapause, but do have lower metabolic rates, and are slightly more likely to exhibit discontinuous gas exchange.

Publication date


Author profiles