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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HOST-SPECIFICITY TESTING OF NATURAL ENEMIES OF THE BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG (BMSB), HALYOMORPHA HALYS (STÅL) (HEMIPTERA: PENTATOMIDAE)

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this project is to conduct host-specificity testing of promising exotic natural enemies of BMSB on high-priority native pentatomids, and apply for release permits for those species that are specific to BMSB.

(1) Participate cooperatively with scientists at selected locations in the U.S. to assess exotic natural enemies for biological control of BMSB.

(2) Review the literature on native pentatomids in North America to help prioritize and select species for host-specificity testing of the natural enemies for BMSB.

(3) Where possible, collect those native pentatomids from the field and develop colonies for use in host-specificity testing. To minimize duplication of effort, this will be coordinated on a national level with each project partner focusing on the native pentatomids in their region.

(4) Provide potential biological control agents from USDA-ARS-BIIR cultures to cooperator containment facilities for host-specificity testing in other regions. All quarantine facilities must be APHIS certified. Only fully permitted and documented species will be brought into quarantine and tested.

(5) Initiate physiological host-specificity testing (no-choice, choice, environmental/behavioral restrictions) on Trissolcus halyomorphae and other Asian Trissolcus species. Other exotic natural enemies may be evaluated, if agreeable to APHIS and as time and resources permit.

(6) Help prepare and apply for release permits for those species that are specific to BMSB.

(7) Collect data as appropriate and possible on native natural enemies attacking BMSB as time and resources permit.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Participate cooperatively with scientists at selected locations in the U.S. to assess exotic natural enemies for biological control of BMSB by developing host test lists; establishing protocols for the evaluations; initiating colonies of native stink bugs to support host-specificity testing; providing biological control agents from USDA-ARS-BIIR cultures to cooperators; and conducting host-specificity testing of candidate biological control agents.


3.Progress Report:

As the Project coordinator, we cooperated with scientists in several regions of the U.S. (DE, OR, FL, MI, MS) to assess exotic natural enemies for their suitability as biological control agents of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

(1) We reviewed literature on native pentatomids in North America, inspected museum collections containing locally-occurring pentatomids, and consulted with pentatomid specialists to help prioritize and select species for host-specificity testing of the natural enemies for BMSB. Regional pentatomid species lists provided by cooperators were compiled, and discussions initiated on establishing preliminary test species lists.

(2) We continued to maintain a large, robust colony of BMSB year-round to support the host range studies, and distributed information on rearing methods to all cooperators. We also provided live BMSB adults to several cooperators to help them establish research cultures.

(3) Teleconference calls were held to discuss and determine evaluation protocols, and written protocol suggestions and illustrative photos (based upon ongoing research at ARS Newark) were distributed. We tested some of the teleconference suggestions in trials conducted in the Newark quarantine, and discussed results in subsequent conference calls.

(4) We collected a variety of native pentatomids in the field and initiated colonies of 16 species to support the host-specificity testing. During an e-mail discussion it was suggested that regional populations of the widely-distributed predatory pentatomid Podisus maculiventris should be tested, in case cryptic species or significant population differences occur. This species is one of a dozen or more species that has already been obtained and testing initiated in Delaware. Generally, however, coordinated attempts will be made to test different species in each of the cooperator regions to maximize taxonomic coverage of non-target species. We also applied for a permit to allow interstate shipment of pentatomids to the ARS Newark quarantine to allow us to receive material from other states for testing.

(5) We provided information to cooperators to help them apply for interstate shipment permits to receive exotic BMSB agents from ARS Newark’s quarantine. In group teleconference discussions it was decided to begin testing with the Asian BMSB egg parasitoid T. halyomorphae (Beijing population). We sent a supply of BMSB eggs parasitized by T. halyomorphae to the Florida and Oregon state cooperators and the ARS Stoneville cooperator to help them establish research cultures. Other cooperators will receive material as soon as they are ready to receive the material. Other exotic natural enemies will be evaluated in the future as time and resources permit.

(6) Progress continued on host specificity testing (projected as a Q2-Q4 activity) already underway at the ARS BIIR Newark laboratory. We continued no-choice & choice testing on egg masses obtained from a variety of resident stink bug species collected locally and exposed to the Asian Trissolcus species in our quarantine. Funds from this agreement were used to purchase several microscopes and a behavioral observation & analysis software package that are dedicated to BMSB host range evaluation research.

(7) We continued a 7-year survey for native natural enemies attacking BMSB on trees and shrubs in the mid-Atlantic states. Trends in native natural enemy impact have not changed over the course of the study and continue to show very low levels of parasitism in this environment. No new native parasitoid species were identified that had not already been seen in previous years’ surveys.

(8) Shipments of Trissolcus specimens were sent to cooperating taxonomists Matt Buffington (ARS-SEL) and to Oregon cooperators for photography that will be used to assist in providing identifications of the different native and Asian species. (9) A workshop to help researchers and extension staff identify natural enemies of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug was organized by ARS (Newark and Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Washington, DC). Twenty-four participants from eleven states attended the two-day workshop on April 10-11 at the University of Delaware in Newark. The workshop was organized in part to meet the needs both of participants in a multi-institution Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant to develop integrated management approaches for the stink bug and Farm Bill cooperators working on BMSB parasitoid host range evaluations. Following the workshop, a tour of the ARS BIIR laboratory including the quarantine facility, with BMSB and Trissolcus colonies, was offered to participants. We used this opportunity to continue discussions with cooperators on host-range evaluation procedures and BMSB and parasitoid rearing methods. Additional training was provided later to other BMSB researchers who were not able to attend the workshop.


Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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