Local dispersal of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in mixed agricultural landscapes of the Coastal Plain
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Phytophagous stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) are key agricultural pests around the world. Among them, the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.), the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say), and the green stink bug, Chinavia hilaris (Say) are the three most abundant species in the southeastern United States and have become serious economic pests of cotton in the past decade. Stink bugs are sensitive and mobile insects that disperse from crop to crop according to crop phenology. In addition, scouting stink bugs to determine population size and treatment threshold is time-consuming. The overall objective of this research was to investigate the behavior and movement of stink bugs to provide knowledge for developing ecologically based strategies for stink bug management. Stink bug feeding preference and movement on individual cotton plants were evaluated in the laboratory using digital cameras and a video recording system. The author discovered different feeding preferences between N. viridula and E. servus. N. viridula spent more time on the two larger boll classes, 2.1-2.5 and 2.6-3.0 cm, while E. servus exhibited a stronger preference for 2.1-2.5 cm bolls. Movement was greater for both species during photophase than scotophase. Intercrop movement of stink bugs was investigated using immunomarking techniques in cotton-peanut-soybean farmscapes. While there were differences in marking efficiency among marking proteins applied to a specific crop, there were no differences among stink bug species. During cotton bloom, data indicated that at least a small number of stink bugs moved between all possible combinations of adjacent crops; however, the majority of the dispersal was into cotton. There were distinct differences among movement patterns among stink bug species. There were no differences in dispersal distance among stink bug species or between sexes. However, stink bugs moving from cotton to soybean travelled significantly further than bugs travelling between remaining adjacent crops. Differences in stink bug density, seedcotton yield, gin turnout, and fiber color were correlated with changes in cotton boll damage.