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Title: Responses of overwintering Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) to dead conspecifics

item CHAMBERS, BENJAMIN - Virginia Tech
item Leskey, Tracy
item PEARCE, ANNIE - Virginia Tech
item KUHAR, THOMAS - Virginia Tech

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2019
Publication Date: 2/13/2019
Citation: Chambers, B., Leskey, T.C., Pearce, A.R., Kuhar, T.P. 2019. Responses of overwintering Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) to dead conspecifics. Journal of Economic Entomology. 112(3):1489-1492.

Interpretive Summary: Overwintering brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) are a significant pest for homeowners and businesses. In areas where populations are high, large numbers of dead individuals can accumulate in inaccessible portions of building structures. Here, we assessed whether dead BMSB influence foraging of live BMSB entering structures during the overwintering period. We found that foraging adults avoided freshly killed BMSB, but did not respond negatively in any way potential olfactory cues provided by one-year-old desiccated, dead BMSBs. Foraging bugs did respond to tactile cues provided by dead, desiccated bugs by joining aggregations of them. Finally, foraging BMSB did not feed on dead BMSB. Our results indicate that foraging BMSB do utilize tactile cues provided by dead BMSB, but it is not known if removal of them would further influence foraging behavior of live BMSB entering overwintering structures.

Technical Abstract: Overwintering brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) (Stål) are a notable domestic nuisance. In addition to disruptive activity, dead individuals remain in homes, sometimes in large numbers. To better understand the effects of these remains on overwintering behavior, H. halys were subjected to several experiments to test their responses to dead conspecifics. In non-tactile tests of individuals exposed to groups of dead conspecifics, H. halys adults did not respond to one-year-old desiccated dead conspecifics, but avoided those that were freshly killed. In tactile tests of individuals exposed to groups of dead conspecifics, bugs joined those corpse aggregations significantly more often than not, and preferred them to cotton when given the choice. In tests of exposure of single overwintering bugs to fresh dead conspecifics over the course of a winter, no necrophagy or evidence of survival advantage was observed, but overall females had higher survival rates than males.