Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Southeast Watershed Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #405080

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

Location: Southeast Watershed Research

Title: Low incidence of avian predation on the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in southeastern orchard systems

item Grabarczyk, Erin
item Cottrell, Ted
item SCHMIDT, JASON - University Of Georgia
item Tillman, Patricia - Glynn

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2023
Publication Date: 7/1/2023
Citation: Grabarczyk, E.E., Cottrell, T.E., Schmidt, J.M., Tillman, P.G. 2023. Low incidence of avian predation on the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in southeastern orchard systems. Insects. 14:595.

Interpretive Summary: In Georgia, stink bugs are a pest of peaches and pecans. Birds may eat stink bug pests, such as the brown marmorated stink bug. In this study, birds that live in forests next to peach and pecan orchards were captured in mist nets and an avian fecal sample collected. Molecular tools were used to screen fecal samples and determine whether birds eat brown marmorated stink bugs. Researches found three bird species eat brown marmorated stink bugs. Future work should test whether birds eat other orchard pests.

Technical Abstract: In many agroecosystems, brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) are polyphagous pests that cause significant economic losses to numerous crops every year. Insectivorous birds may provide a means of sustainable predation of invasive pests, such as H. halys. In forest margins surrounding peach, pecan, and interplanted peach-pecan orchards, we monitored H. halys populations with pheromone-baited traps, mist netted birds, and collected avian fecal samples for molecular gut content analysis. We screened 278 fecal samples from 19 bird species for presence of H. halys to determine whether birds provide biological control on this pest. Overall, we found evidence that three species consumed H. halys, including Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalisis), Tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor), and Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). Halyomorpha halys captured in traps increased over time but did not vary by orchard type. Although incidence of predation was low, this may be an underestimate as a result of our current avian fecal sampling methodology. Because birds are members of the broader food web, future studies are needed to understand avian ecosystem services especially in terms of pest control, including H. halys and other pest species.