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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #77954


item Abdul Baki, Aref
item Aldrich, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae: Asopinae), is a predator of a wide variety of defoliating insects in North America, including pests such as the Mexican bean beetle and the Colorado potato beetle. Release of young spined soldier bugs into infested fields has shown promise for suppressing pests. Adult males of P. maculiventris produce an attractant pheromone, and a Soldier Bug AttractorTM is commercially available. The objective of the present study was to determine in the laboratory the extent to which nymphs are attracted to the pheromone, and to determine if the synthetic pheromone could be used to disperse P. maculiventris nymphs from release points in the field. Podisus maculiventris nymphs were significantly attracted toward synthetic pheromone both in the laboratory and in the field. This discovery opens new avenues for manipulation of this beneficial insect, for example, synthetic pheromone could be useful in dispersing young predators from points of release or into successive plantings of vegetables.

Technical Abstract: Males of the generalist predator, Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) (known as the spined soldier bug), attract mates with a pheromone, but the immature stages of the predator also appeared to be attracted. Therefore, attraction of nymphs of P. maculiventris to pheromone was studied in a wind tunnel and in field plots. The behavior of individual nymphs toward pheromone with and without Colorado potato beetles, Leptinotarsa decemilineata (Say) (Chrysomelidae), and/or potato plants in the airstream, was studied in a wind tunnel. Field experiments were performed in plots planted with green beans that were allowed to become naturally infested with Mexican bean beetles, Epilachna varivestis (Moulsant) (Coccinellidae). Spined soldier bug nymphs were released in the middle row of plots three weeks after planting, and three commercial pheromone dispensers were placed outside the thirteenth row of a plot. Podisus maculiventris nymphs were significantly attracted to synthetic pheromone both in the laboratory and in the field. Results of wind tunnel experiments indicated that combining the pheromone with the phytophage significantly increased the positive responses of nymphs compared to the pheromone alone; however, inclusion of damaged or undamaged potato plants with pheromone did not enhance the positive responses to the odor source. Spined soldier bugs released in field plots had significantly dispersed into rows nearer the pheromone dispensers by the end of the 1-week sampling period. The ability to manipulate immature spined soldier bugs significantly expands the potential for using this generalist predator in integrated pest management programs.