I spent the last few days at a tree nursery between Carlisle and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. The owner, a grower of young fruit trees, was telling me about an introduced species of stink bug that is starting to cause serious problems for apple growers in the area. This insect is the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys, Pentatomidae).
Later that evening when I returned to my hotel room, I found three of these insects as I walked down the hallway. Their local population must indeed be reaching serious numbers. They were apparently seeking shelter for the winter, and are often found invading buildings this time of year. During the warmer months, the young nymphs and the adults both feed on many commercial fruit crops, especially apples. Penn State’s entomology department has a nice overview of this insect.
On a final note, these stink bugs do indeed stink. The nursery owner told me one landed on his face and he squashed it, and then had to go home to wash his face because the smell was nauseating. From just handling the few individuals above I noted an unpleasant odor on my hands. This insect definitely justifies the family’s common name.