Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Snodgrass, G.L., Jackson, R.E., Perera, O.P., Allen, K.C., Luttrell, R.G. 2011. Utilization of tall goldenrod by the tarnished plant bug (Hemiptera: Miridae) in the production of overwintering adults and as a possible winter food source. Southwestern Entomologist. 3:225-232. Interpretive Summary: The tarnished plant bug is the number one pest of cotton in the mid-South. It is controlled in cotton exclusively with insecticides and has developed resistance to insecticides in three of the main classes of insecticides used for control. Control methods not based on insecticides are badly needed. In order to develop non-insecticidal control methods a complete understanding of the biology of the tarnished plant bug in the mid-South is needed. Adults overwinter in reproductive diapause, and one possible control method is to reduce the numbers of overwintering adults. This can be done by destruction of fall host plants or by treating the plant bugs on them with an environmentally safe control product. In order to know which fall hosts are important in the production of overwintering adults, the current study was conducted. This study showed that tall goldenrod was a very important host for the production of overwintering adults in the mid-South.
Technical Abstract: Tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois), nymphs and adults were collected from tall goldenrod, Solidago canadensis L. var. scabra Torr. and Gray, in Washington County, MS during October and November 2008 and 2009. Adults were dissected to determine their reproductive status in order to evaluate host suitability of tall goldenrod relative to production of overwintering tarnished plant bug adults. Mean numbers of nymphs present each week on tall goldenrod were used to evaluate the host plant as a reproductive host. Results showed that tall goldenrod served as a reproductive host from bloom until killing freeze occurred (5 weeks in 2008, and 10 weeks in 2009) with mean populations as high as 58.6 ± 25.7 nymphs per 25-sweep sample. The majority of tarnished plant bug adults utilizing tall goldenrod as a host were found to be in diapause for overwintering by the end of the second week in October of both years. A laboratory test showed that tarnished plant bug adults could utilize mature tall goldenrod seeds as a food source. A field test was conducted to compare host suitability of tall goldenrod and blooming henbit with regard to the timing of diapause termination in tarnished plant bug adults. Adults were collected during December and January from tall goldenrod and from blooming henbit on the same dates and dissected to determine their reproductive status. Results showed that the possible feeding on tall goldenrod seeds had little effect on the timing of diapause termination as compared to adults feeding on blooming henbit which began terminating diapause about three weeks earlier. This information will be useful in development of control measures to reduce the size of the overwintering generation of tarnished plant bug.