NEERA1806: Management of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

NEERA1806: Management of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


Statement of Issues and Justification

Statement of Issue: The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys Stål (BMSB) is a highly polyphagous stink bug of Asian origin. In its native range of China, Korea and Japan, it is considered a periodic agricultural pest of soybeans, tree fruit and various ornamental and vegetable crops. The brown marmorated stink bug is also a nuisance pest in these countries due to its overwintering behavior of entering enclosed structures such as residences in large numbers each fall. Since its introduction into the United States around 1996, it has spread to all but six states and the District of Columbia. Halyomorpha halys has also established populations in Canada, numerous European countries, South America and potentially southern Africa. It has also been intercepted in other countries such as New Zealand and Australia. In the United States BMSB has become a homeowner nuisance wherever it has established and in the eastern United States H. halys become a severe agricultural pest on both conventional and organic farms with little (insecticide use) or no management options. Halyomorpha halys is an emerging pest in Southern and Midwestern United States. In the western United States growers in agricultural areas of California, Oregon and Washington where BMSB is becoming established are also concerned about its impacts because it has been shown to be damaging tree and nuts crops in these areas. In the United States where BMSB is currently a pest, it also attacks a wider range of agricultural crops than in Asia. Currently, damage is seen in numerous vegetables, tree fruit and field crops, and in nurseries. Due to this, failure to address this issue on a regional/national basis will result in severe losses in a variety of cropping systems including peaches, apples, soybeans and peppers resulting in economic hardships by growers and potential farm failures.

Need: In 2010, in response to severe losses in the mid-Atlantic United States due to BMSB, Drs. Tracy Leskey (USDA ARS) and George Hamilton (Rutgers University) created the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Working Group via a grant from the Northeastern IPM Center. The working group’s goals were to bring together researchers, growers and others with the intent to discuss the situation and identify needs research and extension needs and priorities. The first meeting generated a long list of needs and priorities. They can be found at http://www.northeastipm.org/working-groups/bmsb-working-group/priorities-and-reports/. Due to continued funding from the Northeastern IPM Center, this group continues to meet and has grown to over 80 members from throughout the United States. Each time the group meets the list of priorities/needs are discussed and modified. As a priority is met it is removed. New priorities are added when needed. This proposal's objectives reflect current needs established by the working group and will be modified during the life of the project to reflect changes in priorities as identified by the working group.

A multi-state approach to this issue is warranted given the heavy losses incurred by agricultural producers in the eastern United States since 2010. In 2010, this insect’s presence in mid-Atlantic apples resulted in $37 million in losses (American/Western Fruit Grower 2011) and in the tree fruit growing regions of Virginia and West Virginia damage approached 90% (Leskey & Hamilton 2010). Organic producers in this area observed similar amounts of damage to numerous fruits and vegetables. In 2011 and 2012, comparable damage levels were again observed in these and other eastern states and crops (apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, brambles sweet and field corn and soybeans) from Virginia to New York.  As a result of the current multistate project (NEERA 1306) and several USDA grants (OREI – 1, SCRI – 2) obtained by its members progress has been made in the management of H. halys resulting in damage reductions in tree fruit and vegetables.  However, these reductions continue to be the result of heavy insecticide use by growers and have resulted in outbreaks of secondary pests previously managed by natural enemies.

Continuing the current multi-state project to address the on-going needs currently identified by the BMSB working group and others will bring together researchers already working on this issue in the Northeast and other parts of the United States once a year to discuss, identify, and adjust research needs and priorities, and present progress updates. This approach will also allow participating researchers to coordinate their activities to avoid duplication. Finally, since this insect has spread throughout the United States, creating a multi-state project has the potential to bring together researchers from the northeast, from other geographic regions and from other cropping systems not present in the Northeast (cotton, nuts, etc.).

Justification: The brown marmorated stink bug was first observed in the United States in Allentown, PA around 1996 but was initially misidentified as a native pentatomid species. Following correct identification in 2001, it has been found in over 40 states. In several eastern states, its presence in agricultural crops has been confirmed in 2009 and was documented causing severe damage to apples, peaches, pears, peppers and tomatoes. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 damage by this insect was also observed in brambles, field corn, grapes, ornamentals, soybeans, and sweet corn.

Traditionally, management of stink bugs in soybeans, tree fruit and horticultural crops was accomplished through the use of targeted applications of organophosphate insecticides. However, with the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act in 1996, these materials have been slowly phased out resulting in increased damage by stink bugs in these crops. The addition of BMSB with its high rates of reproduction and survival puts these crops at greater risk. Many of the insecticides currently available to growers have variable effects (limited knockdown, recovery once treated, etc.) on resident populations and little or no residual effects on future invaders into treated fields and orchards. In the laboratory pyrethroid insecticides, the replacement for organophosphate insecticides in many cases, exhibit high levels of toxicity to the brown marmorated stink bug fifth instars and adults as do various neonicotinoid insecticides (imidacloprid and dinotefuran). Testing under field conditions has shown that pyrethroids such as bifenthrin to be the most efficacious. Prior to BMSB becoming a problem, pyrethroid use was discouraged in tree fruit and vegetables because of their negative effects to natural enemies. Today, due to the issues mentioned above, in many cases growers continue to rely on weekly applications of pyrethroids and neonicotinoids to manage BMSB thus abandoning 40 years of IPM program development. This use pattern has caused secondary outbreaks of pest such as the wooly apple aphid, San Jose scale and European red mits that were previously controlled by natural enemies putting growers on a "pesticide treadmill" that could lead to complete failures of management programs for BMSB and other pests.

In Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug is attacked by several egg parasitoids and one species of tachinid fly. However, as is customary with newly introduced species, natural enemies are rarely introduced at the same time. Two egg parasitoids and a tachinid fly have been observed attacking the brown marmorated stink bug in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey but are generalist natural enemies and therefore not specific to the brown marmorated stink bug. Several native predators, including minute pirate bugs, ladybugs and spiders do attack BMSB. However, as with native parasitoids their impact has been limited. The use of microbial agents is another potential non-chemical control method. However, to date, screening for possible candidates with toxicity to the brown marmorated stink bug has had limited success. Exploration in Asia to find possible biological control agents has identified several potential parasitoids. One, Trissolcus japonicus, a highly effective egg parasitoid of BMSB in Asia, is currently in quarantine undergoing host specificity testing.  In the last 3 years, naturally occurring populations of this parasitoid (i.e., genetically distinct from the strain in quarantine) have been found in several eastern states and in Oregon and Washington. These finding have resulted in the need to investigate in the field their impact on H. halys and other native stink bugs, and how best to use them for control of BMSB in agricultural situations.

In addition, wherever, the brown marmorated stink bug occurs it has become a severe residential nuisance pest. Currently, while progress has been made as a result of the current multistate project there are still no adequate pest management alternatives to prevent overwintering brown marmorated stink bug adults from entering residences in areas where they occur. Current recommendations for caulking of windows and/or the sealing of cracks and voids in exterior walls, eaves, etc. and the limited use of insecticides on external building surfaces can provide limited control but are not 100% effective. Unfortunately, homeowners, commercial building managers and pest control professionals continue create their own potential solutions through the illegal insecticides in attics and blanket treatment of exterior surfaces and interior walls with insecticides. These practices pose health risks to homeowners, their families and the environment.


Objectives

  1. 1. Continue to refine monitoring methods (light based/pheromone based traps, visual and knockdown assessments) for brown marmorated stink bug that can be used to assess emergence from overwintering sites, conduct population assessments and evaluate movement between different crops.
  2. 2. Determine the contribution by native predators and parasitoids to the biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug (differences between species, and distribution among habitats and regions).
  3. 3. Determine the potential for biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug by adventive populations of Trissolcus japonicus (development of sampling tools, monitoring establishment and spread, innoculative releases, pre- and post-release monitoring, overall impact on BMSB populations).
  4. 4. Continue to refine best management practices for the brown marmorated stink bug in field crops, fruit, nursery and vegetables.
  5. 5. Deliver research based IPM recommendations to growers.
  6. 6. Map the current distribution and severity of BMSB damage on a crops.
  7. 7. Investigate the utility of insecticide treated netting for managing injury to crops and mitigating homeowner issues.
  8. 8. Expanded investigation of relative suitability of and nymphal performance on wild hosts.
  9. 9. Investigate seasonal patterns of wild host use (with special emphasis on early season hosts).

Procedures and Activities

Methods 


The procedures for this project's objectives are outlined below. The primary activities for this project are to hold an annual meeting; participate in coordinated research, implementation, and evaluation programs; and produce reports documenting state and regional activities.


Meetings: This regional project will meet annually in conjunction with either the annual meeting of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America or the Brown Marmorated Working Group in order to increase cooperation among participants. This project will potentially draw participants from at least 12 institutions with the possibility to include members from other USDA regions. Members will benefit from regular meetings to exchange information on research plans and progress, prioritize new research needs and facilitate the development of regionally based research grants proposals and co-authored publications.


Objective 1. Continue to refine monitoring methods (light based/pheromone based traps, visual and knockdown assessments) for brown marmorated stink bug that can be used to assess emergence from overwintering sites, conduct population assessments and evaluate movement between different crops.. Depending on individual state priorities we will establish research plots in field crops, fruit, nursery and vegetables to develop and evaluate monitoring methods in these crops. Plots will be maintained using standard practices but without the use of insecticides. Depending on the crop, adult brown marmorated stink bugs will be monitored using a combination of blacklight traps, pheromone traps, direct visual counts, beat sheet counts or sweep netting. Nymphal populations will be monitored using pheromone traps, direct visual counts, beat sheet counts or sweep netting. Data collected for blacklight and pheromone traps will be correlated with the first presence of adults and nymphal BMSB in plots. All other methods will be compared for differences in population estimates between methods and crops.


Objective 2. Determine the contribution by native predators and parasitoids to the biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug (differences between species, and distribution among habitats and regions). This objective will be fulfilled using the plots established in each state for either objective 1. Sentinel brown marmorated stink bug egg masses will be outsourced on a minimum of eight randomly selected plants within plots. This will be initiated when naturally colonizing adults are observed in the plots and will be repeated every other week throughout the growing season. Each egg mass will be examined 24 h later to detect predation. After 48-h, all egg masses will be collected, brought to the laboratory, examined for predation and then, held for emergence of adult parasitoids. The frequency of egg parasitization by a single parasitoid or combination of parasitoids will be calculated for the sentinel egg masses.


Objective 3. Determine the potential for biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug by adventive populations of Trissolcus japonicus (development of sampling tools, monitoring establishment and spread, innoculative releases, pre- and post-release monitoring, overall impact on BMSB and native stink bug populations). This objective will be fulfilled in one of two ways in each state. Initial detection will accomplished using either yellow sticky cards placed in association with wooded border areas around orchards and or vegetable plantings or through the use of either fresh or frozen sentinel BMSB egg masses. Each will be deployed at various locations beginning with the first detection of BSMB egg masses in each state. Sticky cards will be deployed and removed for processing every two weeks throughout the season. Sentinel egg masses will be deployed and recovered following the procedures outlined for objective 2. Once detected, live egg masses will be deployed and recovered in attempts to establish colonies that will generate Trissolcus japonicus adults for use in innoculative releases in each state. Prior to releases, BMSB populations will be assessed and then reassessment following releases using visual counts and pheromone trapping. To access the impact of T. japonicus on native stink bug, green aand brown stink bugs will be reared in the laboratory to create a supply of fresh and frozen egg masses. These will be deployed and recovered using the same procedures as for BMSB assessments.


Objective 4. Continue to refine best management practices for the brown marmorated stink bug. Using the information, developed under objectives 1-3, we will develop crop specific best management plans (BMP s) for the brown marmorated stink bug. This will be done during the projects yearly annual meeting.


Objective 5. Deliver research based IPM recommendations to growers. We will incorporate the information and Best Management Practices developed by this project into current grower recommendations. We will also deliver this information via websites, emails, newsletters, grower meetings, etc.


Objective 6. Map the current distribution and severity of BMSB damage on a crops. Depending on individual state priorities we will gather occurrence and damage data using current web based reporting systems. During the previous multistate project OR, NJ, NY, PA and the Southern IPM Center developed a system to track BMSB occurrence on a national basis using historical and newly generated data into a single data base. This system will continue to be used during the new project. In addition, a system to track damage severity on a crop by crop basis will also be developed.


Objective 7. Investigate the utility of insecticide treated netting for managing injury to crops and mitigating homeowner issues. Depending on individual state priorities we will establish replicated plantings of various crops and in urban landscapes to determine the efficacy of using insecticide treated netting. Potential treatment for crops include covering the crops directly, surrounding the crop with netting, placement of nets along field borders next to wooded areas and untreated control. Data on the number of BSMS in plots will be collected weekly. Damage assessments will be made at harvest. For urban landscapes, similar treatments will be created using ornamental tree hosts. The number of dead BMSB in each treatment will be determined weekly.


Objective 8. Expand investigations of relative suitability of and nymphal performance on wild hosts. Depending on individual state priorities we will conduct replicated trials to determine the relative suitability of and nymphal performance on wild hosts by enclosing different nymphal instars in sleeve cages or similar cages (depending on the host tested) . The development of the nymphs will then be followed until the adult stage is obtained.


Objective 9. Investigate seasonal patterns of wild host use (with special emphasis on early season hosts). Depending on individual state priorities we will survey for the presence of BMSB on wild hosts in crop and non-crop areas using visual surveys and pheromone traps. Pheromone traps will be placed in the field prior to the emergence of BMSB from overwintering site and followed throughout the season. Visual estimates will begin with the when the first BMSB is caught in the traps and continued until October or plant senescence occurs.    


Milestones


(2019): Depending on state priorities all proposed project objectives could begin during year one. Due to this, milestones related to each objective will be reported in annual reports. Project participants will meet and discuss project activities in conjunction with either the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Working Groups fall meeting or the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting (March). A business meeting will be held discuss project objectives, etc. 

(2020): Project participants will meet in conjunction with the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting (March). A symposia to discuss recent research and developments will be held. An annual business meeting will be held to discuss project objectives, etc. Research, education, and outreach efforts will continue under the objectives of the project as in year 1.

(2021): Project participants will meet and discuss project activities in conjunction with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Working Groups fall meeting or the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting (March). A business meeting will be held discuss project objectives, etc. Research, education, and outreach efforts will continue under the objectives of the project as in previous years. Any best management practices developed in year will be modified as needed. 

(2022): Project participants will meet in conjunction with the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting. A symposia to discuss recent research and developments will be held. An annual business meeting will be held to discuss project objectives, etc. Research, education, and outreach efforts will continue under the objectives of the project as in previous years. Any best management practices developed in year will be modified as needed. 

(2023): Project participants will meet and discuss project activities in conjunction with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Working Groups fall meeting or the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting (March). A business meeting will be held to discuss the continuance of the project for additional 5 years. Research, education, and outreach efforts will continue under the objectives of the project as in previous years. 


 

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Adoption of IPM tactics developed or refined. Comments: The IPM tactics we propose to develop/refine will be adopted by farmers in at least 30 states thereby potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of people through reductions in pesticide residues on field, fruit, and nursery and vegetable crops. Adoption of these tactics will result in the cessation of illegal pesticide applications to control H. halys by farmers. Adoption of this program over large areas has the potential to reduce the spread of this invasive insect to agricultural areas in other states not currently impacted by BMSB. Finally, the success of this will allow growers to return to using previously well-established management programs that were abandoned due to the introduction of BMSB.
  • Increased economic benefits to growers Comments: This project will result in economic benefits in the form of decreased monetary losses due to yield reductions caused by this insect. It will also result in increased time being available for marketing of the crop that would otherwise be spent managing this insect. Finally, this project will ultimately result in fewer costs in managing this pest due to reductions in pesticide use.
  • Implementation of IPM tactics developed/refined in non-agricultural sectors Comments: The results of this project may also lead to the development of IPM tactics that could be implemented by in non-agricultural sectors (i.e., homeowners, building managers and pest control companies) reducing the illegal and often inappropriate use of insecticide by these groups. Anticipated reductions in insecticide use and the application of illegal or unnecessary insecticide treatments will result in reductions in health issues due the presence of large numbers of BMSB (asthma for example) and exposure to insecticide residues.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

 This project will further the development and evaluation of IPM tactics including monitoring, biological control and targeted use of pesticides to manage H. halys. Information about the tactics will be discussed by each PI at state and regional grower meetings and will result in information being made available at participating university websites, and the STOPBMSB website (http://www.stopbmsb.org/). Placing this information on the web will allow distribution to growers and others throughout the US.

Organization/Governance

The recommended Standard Governance for multistate research activities include the election of a Chair, a Chair-elect, and a Secretary. All officers are to be elected for at least two-year terms to provide continuity. Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a NIFA Representative.

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