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Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Tactics to Manage Invasive Insect Pests and Weeds

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Abundance of natural enemies of Nezara viridula (Hemipteera:Pentatomidae)on three cultivars of sweeet Alyssum

Author
item Haseeb, Muhammad - Florida A & M University
item Gordon, Tavia - Florida A & M University
item Kanga, Lambert - Florida A & M University
item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2018
Publication Date: 7/1/2018
Citation: Haseeb, M., Gordon, T., Kanga, L.H., Legaspi, J.C. 2018. Conservation of natural enemies of the southern green stink bug using sweet alyssum cultivars in tomato crop in north Florida. Journal of Applied Entomology. 00:1-7. https://doi.org/10.1111/jen.12552.

Interpretive Summary: The southern green stink bug is one of the most serious pests of tomatoes in Florida. Damage from the stink bug can be reduced if its natural enemies are encouraged to establish through the use of refuge crops that provide them with food and shelter. Sweet alyssum is one such refuge crop. In this study, scientists from USDA-Agricultural Research Service-Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology and researchers from Florida A&M University evaluated sweet alyssum as a refuge crop in tomato. Sweet alyssum cultivars "Carpet of Snow", "Royal Carpet" and "Tall White" were studied in north Florida in the 2014 and 2015 to determine their effectiveness in conserving the natural enemies of the southern green stink bug in the field. The experimental refuge crops were cultivated on two outer rows and one center row of the tomato crop. Each treatment area consisted of the three cultivars of sweet alyssum and an untreated control consisting of six rows of tomatoes. Insect pests and their natural enemies were collected and identified. On the refuge crops, big-eyed bug, minute pirate bug, ladybird beetles, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, hoverflies and spiders were collected. All varieties of sweet alyssum attracted natural enemies of the stink bug. However, the variety "Carpet of Snow" was the most effective, followed by "Tall White", thereby keeping the stink bug in check in June. This study shows that sweet alyssum may be used as a natural enemy refuge crop against the southern green stink bug in tomato.

Technical Abstract: The southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula is one of the most serious pest of tomatoes in Florida. In 2014 and 2015 tomato cropping seasons, three cultivars of sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima were evaluated in north Florida to determine their effectiveness in conserving the natural enemies of the southern green stink bug in open field conditions. The experimental refuge crops were cultivated on two outer rows and one center row of the tomato crop. Each treatment area consisted of three cultivars of sweet alyssum and a control (six rows of tomatoes). Each section of the rows of trap crops and refuge crops was kept 20 x 3 ft. (6 x 0.91 m) in size. Insect pests and their natural enemies were collected and identified. On refuge crops, big-eyed bug, Geocoris punctipes; minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus, ladybird beetles, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, hoverflies and spiders were collected. All varieties of L. maritima attracted the natural enemies of the southern green stink bug; however carpet of snow was the most effective followed by tall white in attracting G. punctipes in the tomato crop. G. punctipes kept N. viridula in check in June. N. viridula population first peaked in July and declined in week 11 and then had a sharp increase in weeks 12 and 13 when G. punctipes population was comparatively high. Data on the availability of refuge crops which provide nectar and shelter to natural enemies are useful for integrated pest management of the southern green stinkbug, because these can play a major role in conservation of beneficial species.