Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/6/2010
Publication Date: 8/1/2010
Citation: Abel, C.A., Snodgrass, G.L., Jackson, R.E., Allen, K.C. 2010. Oviposition and Development of the Tarnished Plant Bug (Hemiptera: miridae) on Field Maize. Environmental Entomology. 39(4):1085-1091 DOI: 10.1603/EN10010
Interpretive Summary: The eradication of the boll weevil and extensive use of transgenic cotton to control Lepidopterous pests has reduced overall insecticide use in the Southeast United states Cotton Belt Region. This has helped allow the tarnished plant bug to become a consistent pest of cotton in this region. From the mid-1960’s until the mid-1990’s, maize production in the mid-South almost ceased. Need for a rotational crop with cotton and soybean, passage of the Freedom to Farm Act of 1995, and local demand for grain by catfish and poultry producers have revived maize production in this area. Consultants and researchers have collected tarnished plant bugs from maize and recorded increased densities of the pest next to maize/cotton field margins. However, research to determine the quality of the crop as a host for tarnished plant bugs has not been published. In the current study we found that maize was a good host for the tarnished plant bug during the time the tassels emerged, during pollen shed and silking, and through the milk stage of ear development. This allowed tarnished plant bugs time to produce one new generation in maize. Maize was no longer attractive to plant bug adults when the ear kernels began to mature and adult migrated from the maize during late June through mid-July. During this time cotton is the most abundant host attractive to the migrating adults.
Technical Abstract: Reduced insecticide use in cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., as a consequence of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program and the broad adoption of Bt cotton, have helped make the tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois), a consistent pest of cotton each year in the mid-South. Maize, Zea mays L., has been implicated as having a role in the season-long dynamics of tarnished plant bug infestations in cotton. To date, no published information exists describing the quality of maize as a host for tarnished plant bug. No-choice field studies indicated that adult tarnished plant bug females oviposited into maize leaves, tassels, and ears. Laboratory studies showed that first-instar tarnished plant bugs could successfully develop to the adult stage when fed maize silks at the R1 growth stage, tassels prior to (VT) and during (R0) pollen shed, and milk stage (R3) kernels from the tip and base of the ear. The proportion of nymphs surviving to the adult stage on these tissues was often similar to that of broccoli, Brassica oleracea L., a laboratory standard for tarnished plant bug rearing. Nymphs did not develop to adults when fed V5 or R1 maize leaves. However, survival of first-instars to the adult stage was improved when nymphs fed on tassels with pollen for 6 d then moved to silks or leaves. Another field study showed that tarnished plant bugs reproduced in maize mainly during the VT, R0, and R1 growth stages, and a single new generation was produced in maize during these stages. The highest population recorded during the study (24 June 2005) consisted mostly of nymphs and was estimated to be 29,600/ha (12,000/acre). These studies demonstrated that maize is a suitable host for tarnished plant bug reproduction and development, and its production plays a significant role in the population dynamics of the tarnished plant bug in the mid-South. Key Words: Lygus lineolaris, corn, Zea mays, cotton, host suitability