Monitoring Stink Bugs with the Florida Stink Bug Trap

Dr. Russell F. Mizell, III, Professor of Entomology
NFREC-Quincy, 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL 32351

 

 


We have invented and patented a stink bug trap. The trap is patented as U.S. patent #7150125, “Insect attraction and capture device” to R. F. Mizell, III and the University of Florida, and was issued 19 December 2006.  The exclusive rights to produce and sell the trap have been purchased from the University of Florida by Agbio, Inc. AgBio can be contacted and traps can be purchased along with other related products at the website www.agbio-inc.com.

 

The stink bug trap (Figures 1 and 2) that has captured 20 species of pentatomids (stink bugs), seven species of coreids (leaf-footed bugs), six reduviid (assassin and ambush bugs) species and many other miscellaneous insect species in fruit crops and pecan (see Table 1) (Mizell and Tedders 1995) .


Figure 1: Florida stink bug trap properly deployed.


Figure 2: Florida stink bug trap closeup.

Major pest species captured are Euschistus servus (Say) (Figure 3), E. tristigmus (Say), Acrosternum hilare (Say) (Figure 4), Nezara viridula (L.), Oebalus pugnax (F.) (Figure 5) Acanthocephala femorata (F.) (Figure 6) and Leptoglossus phyllopus (Linnaeus) (Figure 7). The stink bug, Proxys punctulatus (Palisot de Beauvois) (Figure 8), and the seed bug, Largus sp., (Figure 9) are also collected routinely.


Figure 3: An adult brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say).
Photgraph by W.L. Tedders


Figure 4: The green stink bug, Acrosternum hilare (Say).


Figure 5: The rice stink bug, Oebalus pugnax (Fabricius).


Figure 6: The squash bug, Acanthocephala femorata (Fabricius).


Figure 7: The leaffooted bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus (Linaeus).


Figure 8: The stink bug, Proxys punctulatus (Palisot de Beauvois).


Figure 9: A seed bug, Largus sp.

Commonly captured predacious species are Podiscus maculiventris (Say) (Figure 10), Stiretus anchorago (F.), Euthyrhynchus floridanus (Linnaeus) (Figure 11) and Alcaeorrhynchus grandis (Dallas) (Figure 12). The reduviids Apiomerus floridensis Szerlip (Figure 13), Zelus exsanguis Stal and Sinea spinipes (Herrich-Schaeffer) are also commonly trapped. The trap can be used to determine when stink bugs move into the peach or pecan orchard and the vegetable garden and perhaps the need and proper timing for controls. The trap can also be used similarly in other crops, although a great deal of research remains to determine the necessary details. Moreover, we lack suitable attractants for many pest species.


Figure 10: The predacious stink bug, Podisus maculiventris (Say).


Figure 11: The predacious stink bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus (Linnaeus).


Figure 12: The predacious stink bug, Alcaeorrhynchus grandis (Dallas).


Figure 13: The predacious reduviid, Apiomerus floridensis Szerlip.

The main species of stink bugs that may feed on fruit in north Florida are in order of importance: the brown stink bug, E. servus; the smoky brown stink bug, E. tristigmus; the leaf-footed bugs, Leptoglossus spp.; the green stink bug, A. hilare; and the southern green stink bug, N. viridula. In central and south Florida and south Georgia, many other species of stink and squash bugs are present and may attack fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds. Weather strongly affects when stink bugs attack peach. Stink bugs may remain active throughout the winter if weather conditions remain moderate and above freezing. During most years, stink bugs will hibernate and arrive in peach orchards during late bloom and shuck split as fruit begin to form. However, in mild years they may feed on winter annual weeds and other hosts throughout the winter. Under drought conditions they may attack fruit in much higher numbers. The damage to peach results in early fruit abscission (Figure 14), catfacing (Figure 15), and damaged fruit more susceptible to diseases.


Figure 14: Signs of stink bug feeding damage on peach.


Figure 15: Catfacing damage in peach.

Baiting the stink bug trap with the aggregation pheromone of Euschistus spp., methyl (E, Z)-2,4- decadienoate (Aldrich et al. 1991), dramatically increases trap catch of both sexes and nymphs of E. servus, and adult E. tristigmus and E. crenator. The stink bug trap, with or without pheromone, adequately detects the time of movement of E. servus into peach and blackberry crops. Since this period of first arrival may vary four to six weeks from year to year, this presence-absence approach to using the trap may be very beneficial and help to more accurately time pesticide applications to when they are first needed.

The stink bug trap provides a visual stimulus and landing target that conventional pheromone traps lack which attracts and catches these pests. The stink bug trap appears to have great potential as a monitoring tool for the phytophagous stink bugs and perhaps certain predacious species, and may serve as a trap for deployment of attractants for other herbivorous insects. In small plots such as organic production or backyards, the trap baited with the pheromone appears to function well enough to greatly suppress or to help protect tree fruit from stink bug damage where Euschistus spp. are the dominant pests. Unfortunately, the trap also captures beneficial insects that can be helpful in suppressing pests. The predacious stink bugs can be separated from the phytophagous pests species by comparing the mouthparts. The predacious species have a space between the mouthparts and the head whereas the plant feeders do not (Figure 16). Release the beneficial predators but be careful in handling the reduviids.


Figure 16: Separation of phytophagous stink bugs from predacious species
Photgraph by W.L. Tedders

Building and Using the Florida Stink Bug Trap

Figure 17 provides a diagram for the screen top and the pyramid sections that combine to form the Florida stink bug trap. The top that actually captures the stink bugs is made from aluminum wire window screen. Other materials such as a plastic jar may be used, but they must be modified with screen and remain transparent to allow maximum light penetration into the interior of the trap (Figure 18). Stink bugs prefer not to enter dark containers during their active season. In addition, the top must fit over the apex of the pyramid section such that the edges of the top are flared out to form a skirt so as not to touch the pyramid vanes. This keeps the stink bugs from escaping by walking on to the outside of the screen top.

 


Figure 17: Plans for building the Florida stink bug trap.


Figure 18: Tops for stink bug trap: left two acceptable, right two unacceptable.

The pyramid section, e.g., the visually-attractive base, is made from one-eighth inch tempered masonite. This bottom or pyramid portion of the trap may be purchased in black as a plum curculio trap from Gempler's Supply. For stink bugs, the masonite should be painted with Glidden Alkyd Industrial Enamel 4540, "Safety Yellow" enamel, which is available from hardware stores. The four sections are connected using plastic twist ties (Figure 19).


Figure 19: Trap parts separated.

The four vane sections should form a square hole in the center when properly configured in a perpendicular fashion against each other and tightened. Use this hole to place the trap over a metal rod (i.e., 6 x 122 mm plant stake) placed in the ground to anchor the trap. The trap should be placed in the open for maximum visibility such as between trees within the row. Clean and maintain all debris and vegetation away from an area of about 1 square meter around the trap. To place the trap, use a claw hammer to make a + sign about 5 to 8 cm deep into the soil. Place the metal rod in the ground about 20 to 30 cm at the center of the +. Place the trap over the rod and into the + by threading the rod into the center hole formed by the vanes of the trap. Pile and tamp down dirt up to 10 to 15 cm deep around the bottom and center base of the pyramid to fasten it firmly in place. Put on the screen top and add the pheromone septa.

Stink bugs appear to move into the peach orchard from exterior overwintering areas and build up on trees in the border rows first. In commercial orchards place the traps within the border rows between trees or in the open on the edge of the orchard or planting. Traps should be checked one to three times per week and stink bugs removed and killed. A treatment threshold for stink bugs has not been determined in Florida.

Homeowners and organic growers should place traps in the open near fruit trees. One to three baited traps per tree will in most cases suppress the Euschistus spp. to low levels in small plantings. Begin trapping a few weeks before you expect stink bugs to enter the orchard. Historically, in north Florida, this has been between 19 February and 12 March. The trap attracts and captures arriving stink bugs in the orchard very well. There will also be a large increase in trap catch when the stink bugs leave the trees as fruit becomes no longer available. In conjunction with use of the Tedders traps for plum curculio, the Florida stink bug trap may provide enough pest control to produce peaches with reduced insecticide use.

Table 1: Heteroptera caught in the stink bug trap in peach, pecan and blackberry.

 

Pentatomidae

 

Coreidae

 

Reduviidae

References for Further Reading

Aldrich J, Hoffman M, Kochansky J, Lusby W, Eger J, Payne J. 1991. Identification and attractiveness of a major component for Nearctic Euschistus spp. stink bugs (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Environmental Entomology 20: 477-483.

Mizell III RF, Tedders WL. 1995. Use of the modified Tedders trap to monitor stink bugs in pecan. Proceedings of the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association 88: 36-40.

 

Mizell III RF, Riddle TC, Blount A. (May 2008). Trap Cropping for Stink Bugs. Traps and Sampling. http://ufinsect.ifas.ufl.edu/stink_bugs/StkBg-TpCrop-Poster.pdf (21 May 2008).

 


 

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