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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Use of Pollen to Determine Stink Bug Dispersal

Author
item Jones, Gretchen

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2004
Publication Date: June 14, 2004
Citation: Jones, G.D. 2004. The use of pollen to determine stink bug dispersal. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 5-9, 2004, San Antonio, Texas. 2004 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Southern green stink bugs are occasional insect pests in cotton and other agricultural crops. Damage caused by stink bugs includes the destruction and loss of seeds and fruit. Although stink bugs are known to move from plant to plant in search of food, little is known about their movement between agricultural crops. Because pollen has been used as a natural marker to determine long and short distance migration of several other crop insect pests, adult stink bugs collected in Burleson Co., TX, were examined for pollen. Pollen grains from 17 species of plants were found in the stink bugs including cotton, corn, and false honeysuckle. In laboratory tests, spike-moss spores were used as an artificial marker. When fed a sugar-water solution containing spike-moss spores, 100% of the stink bugs retained the spores for seven days. The presence of the pollen found and retention of the spores indicates that pollen analyses and spore marking can be used to determine stink bug dispersal between cropping systems. However, future research is needed to determine if stink bugs can ingest various sizes of pollen and spores, to compare the pollen recovered from stink bugs and surrounding habitats, and to test the artificial marker in cotton and corn.

Technical Abstract: Southern green stink bugs [Nezara viridula (L.)] are occasional insect pests in cotton and other agricultural crops. Damage to the plant from stink bug feeding includes the loss of plant fluids and the deformation and abortion of seed and fruiting structures. Although stink bugs are known to move from host to host, little is known about their dispersal between cropping systems. Pollen analyses are an effective tool in determining long and short distance migration and dispersal. Since stink bugs feed on plant parts including flowers and fruits, it is likely that they can become contaminated with pollen. Adult stink bugs were collected in Burleson Co., TX, and examined for pollen. Pollen and spores were found in light microscopy analyses but not in scanning electron analyses. Seventeen pollen taxa and three spore taxa were founding the stink bugs including pollen from Asteraceae, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum C. Linnaeus), corn (Zea mays C. Linnaeus), and false honeysuckle (Gaura sp.). In laboratory tests when fed 50% sugar-water containing Lycopodium clavatum C. Linnaeus spores, 100% of the stink bugs contained spores for up to seven days. The presence of pollen and the longevity of the Lycopodium spores indicate that pollen analyses can be used to determine dispersal. However, future research is needed to correlate the pollen recovered from stink bugs and surrounding habitats and to field test the use of Lycopodium as an artificial marker for stink bug dispersal.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014