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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338762

Research Project: Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Color preference of harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

Author
item Dimeglio, Anthony - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item Kuhar, Thomas - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item Weber, Donald

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2017
Publication Date: 7/14/2017
Citation: Dimeglio, A.S., Kuhar, T.P., Weber, D.C. 2017. Color preference of harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 110:2275-2277.

Interpretive Summary: Harlequin bug is an important pest of cabbage, collard, broccoli, and related mustard-family crops in the southern United States. Because populations are highly variable and unpredictable from farm to farm, accurate monitoring of activity would greatly improve pest management decision-making and the timing of control tactics. A newly-discovered pheromone is a strong attractant, and together with an appropriate trap design, could be useful to monitor bug populations, and also to divert bugs to traps or trap crops and away from valuable vegetable plantings. This study investigated the attraction of male and female adult harlequin bugs, and the late-stage nymphs (immature stages) to six different colors under laboratory and field conditions. In both lab and field color choice experiments, harlequin bugs (adults and large nymphs) responded positively to green and black colors, in preference to yellow, white, purple or red. Female harlequin bugs also were highly attracted to red in the lab, but not in the field. We conclude that future trapping devices for harlequin bug should be green or black in color. These results should be useful companies, scouts, farmers, and researchers concerned with managing vegetable pests in the USA.

Technical Abstract: Harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an important pest of Brassica crops in the southern United States. Regional populations are highly variable and unpredictable from farm to farm, and therefore accurate monitoring of activity would greatly improve IPM decision-making and the timing of control tactics. To our knowledge, there is no monitoring device or proven trapping system for this pest. We contribute new knowledge of harlequin bug visual ecology, which will aid in the development of an effective trap. In both lab and field color choice experiments, harlequin bugs (adults and large nymphs) responded positively to green and black colors, and statistically less frequently to yellow, white, purple or red. Female harlequin bugs also were highly attracted to red in the lab, but not in the field. We conclude that future trapping devices for harlequin bug should be green or black in color.