Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2004
Publication Date: 6/14/2004
Citation: Westbrook, J.K., Eyster, R.S. 2004. Stink bug populations in an active boll weevil eradication zone in Central Texas. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 5-9, 2004, San Antonio, Texas. 2004 CDROM.
Interpretive Summary: Stink bugs have become an important pest of cotton in the Mid-South and Southeastern regions of the U.S. The increased importance of stink bugs as a cotton pest has been partly attributed to reductions in Malathion insecticide applications following the widespread success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Stink bugs feed on a variety of plant types, many of which are found in the Southern Blacklands zone of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Cotton, soybean, and alfalfa fields were sampled by sweep nets to determine seasonal patterns and species of stink bugs within this active zone of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Only seven stink bugs were collected in cotton, where an average of 7.4 Malathion insecticide applications were made during the 12 May ' 24 July sampling period. There were significantly more southern green stink bugs than brown stink bugs, green stink bugs, and rice stink bugs in soybeans and alfalfa. Knowledge of the distribution and dispersal of stink bugs within and between various habitats will be useful in the development of effective cotton pest management strategies for areas in which the boll weevil has been eradicated.
Technical Abstract: Stink bugs have emerged as an increasingly significant pest complex in the Mid-South and Southeastern regions of the Cotton Belt following reductions in use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Reductions in broad-spectrum insecticide use have been attributed to increased adoption of transgenic cotton containing Bacillus thuringiensis, increased use of selective insecticides, widespread success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program with concomitant reductions in Malathion applications, and increased conservation reserve areas. Stink bugs are highly polyphagous and many of their hosts are found in the Southern Blacklands zone of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program. A field study was conducted to determine seasonal patterns and species composition of stink bugs in various habitats within this active zone of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Only seven stink bugs were collected from twice-weekly sweep net samples in cotton, where an average of 7.4 Malathion applications were made during the 12 May ' 24 July sampling period. Southern green stink bugs were more numerous than brown stink bugs, green stink bugs, and rice stink bugs in soybeans and alfalfa. The geographic distribution, suitability, and diversity of host crops and weeds will present a challenging landscape for protection of cotton against stink bugs when the Boll Weevil Eradication Program advances to a maintenance stage. Future research should be directed at patterns of host utilization and dispersal by stink bugs.