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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Protection and Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342393

Research Project: Ecology and Biologically-based Management Systems for Insect Pests in Agricultural Landscapes in the Southeastern Region

Location: Crop Protection and Management Research

Title: Ecosystem-based incorporation of nectar-producing plants for stink bug parasitoids

Author
item Tillman, Patricia - Glynn

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/24/2017
Publication Date: 6/24/2017
Citation: Tillman, P.G. 2017. Ecosystem-based incorporation of nectar-producing plants for stink bug parasitoids. Insects. 8:65. http://doi.org/10.3390/insects8030065.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8030065

Interpretive Summary: Modern agricultural systems which depend on mechanical cultivation and chemical pesticides for insect control has resulted in lack of floral resources. Adult parasites of pest insects which rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction can be severely food-deprived in these agroecosystems. Stink bugs are serious pests of crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasites of stink bugs potentially can enhance biocontrol of these pests. In peanut-cotton farmscapes, stink bugs develop in peanut and subsequent adults disperse into adjacent cotton. Parasitism of southern green stink bug adults by a parasitic fly at the peanut-cotton interface was significantly higher in cotton with a strip of milkweed or buckwheat between the two crops than in cotton alone. Milkweed and buckwheat also provided nectar to a wide range of insect pollinators. Monarch butterflies fed on milkweed. When placed between peanut and cotton, a strip of soybean was an effective trap crop for cotton, reducing economic damage. Incorporation of buckwheat near soybean enhanced parasitism of brown stink bug eggs by a parasitic wasp in cotton. In conclusion, nectar provision enhances biocontrol of stink bugs, acts together with other management tactics for stink bug control, and aids in conservation of natural enemies, insect pollinators, and the monarch butterfly.

Technical Abstract: Adult parasitoids of pest insects rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction but can be food-deprived in intensively managed agricultural systems lacking these resources. Stink bugs are serious pests of crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasitoids of stink bugs potentially can enhance biocontrol of these pests. Knowledge of spatial and temporal availability and distribution of stink bugs in host plants are necessary for appropriate timing and placement of flowering plants in agroecosystems. Stink bugs move between closely associated host plants throughout the growing season in response to deteriorating suitability of their host plants. In peanut-cotton farmscapes, stink bugs develop in peanut and subsequent adults disperse into adjacent cotton. Parasitism of Nezara viridula (L.) adults by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) at the peanut-cotton interface was significantly higher in cotton with a strip of milkweed or buckwheat between the two crops than in cotton alone. Milkweed and buckwheat also provided nectar to a wide range of insect pollinators. Monarch butterflies fed on milkweed. When placed between peanut and cotton, a strip of soybean was an effective trap crop for cotton, reducing economic damage. Incorporation of buckwheat near soybean enhanced parasitism of Euschistus servus (Say) eggs by Telenomus podisi Ashmead in cotton. In conclusion, nectar provision enhances biocontrol of stink bugs, acts together with other management tactics for stink bug control, and aids in conservation of natural enemies, insect pollinators, and the monarch butterfly.