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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INSECT ECOLOGY AND SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS FOR INSECT PEST MANAGEMENT IN THE SOUTHEASTERN REGION

Location: Crop Protection and Management Research

Title: Stink bugs(Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) and their natural enemies in alfalfa in South Georgia

Author
item TILLMAN, PATRICIA

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 28, 2011
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Citation: Tillman, P.G. 2013. Stink bugs(Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) and their natural enemies in alfalfa in South Georgia. Journal of Entomological Science. 48(1):1-8.

Interpretive Summary: Stink bugs have increased in significance as pests in many cropping systems in the southeast, and they depend on the occurrence of a sequence of suitable host plants throughout the growing season. In light of the relative lack of information on stink bugs in alfalfa, a potential early-season crop for these pests, the objective of this study was to determine the species and number of stink bugs and their natural enemies in this crop in Georgia. Six species of stink bug pests, the southern green stink bug, the brown stink, the red shouldered stink bug, the dusky stink bug, the rice stink bug, and the green stink bug, occurred in alfalfa. The southern green stink bug was the predominant stink bug species over all 3 yrs of the study. Generally, density of this stink bug was high in seeding alfalfa in the late spring-early summer, and parasitization of this stink bug by the feather-legged fly could reach high levels as density of the pest built-up in the crop. The brown stink bug and red shouldered stink bug together comprised the second most predominant group of stink bugs in this crop. Apparently, the southern green stink bug, the brown stink bug, and the red shouldered stink bug can produce a new generation adults on alfalfa. Several stink bug predators, including big-eyed bugs, pirate bugs, spiders, lady beetles, and ants were found in the crop. Alfalfa could possibly be managed to serve as a trap crop for both early and late season crops and as a source of food to stink bug parasites and insect pollinators on the farm.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine species composition and abundance of stink bugs (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) and their natural enemies in alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., in Georgia. Six species of phytophagous stink bugs, Nezara viridula (L.), Euschistus servus (Say), Thyanta custator custator (F.), Euschistus quadrator (Rolston), Oebalus pugnax pugnax (F.), and Chinavia hilaris (Say), and one predatory species, Podisus maculiventris Say, occurred in alfalfa. N. viridula was the predominant stink bug species over all 3 yrs of the study. Generally, density of this stink bug was high in seeding alfalfa in the late spring-early summer, and parasitization of this stink bug by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) could reach high levels as density of the pest built-up in the crop. E. servus and T. c. custator together comprised the second most predominant group of stink bugs in this crop. Alfalfa is a reproductive host for N. viridula and E. servus, and perhaps for T. c. custator, based on seasonal occurrence of nymphs (all five instars) and adults, nymphal development time, ovarian development time, and reproductive status (N. viridula only) of adults. Mainly adults of E. quadrator, O. p. pugnax, and C. hilaris were found in the crop. Geocoris spp., Orius insidiosus (Say), spiders, lady beetles, nabids/reduviids, and ants were stink predators collected from the crop. Alfalfa could possibly be managed to serve as a trap crop for both early and late season crops and as a source of nectar to stink bug parasitoids and insect pollinators on the farm.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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