Integrated trap crop and pheromone trap system for organic management of brown marmorated stink bug
This project tested a chemical-free approach that combined a sunflower trap crop perimeter with commercially available pheromone traps to manage the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys. We tested this system in 2012 on four cash crops with previously high BMSB susceptibility: okra, sweet pepper, tomato and summer squash, in replicated field plots under USDA certified organic production. We observed a high degree of BMSB attraction to the sunflower trap crop, with > 2-fold increase in average BMSB densities in the trap perimeters, as compared to the cash crops. The trap crop perimeters also delayed BMSB colonization of the cash crops, resulting in lower BMSB densities for tomatoes and peppers late season (> 15 Aug). However, reduced BMSB densities in the cash crops did not translate into significantly lower crop damage or higher yields in the trap crop plots as compared to control plots. We found a 14-d earlier colonization and 2-fold higher density of BMSB in plots with prior history of vegetable production, as compared to plots previously in grain. No overall directional affect for BMSB colonization was found within fields, suggesting that presence of the cash crops in the previous year was a more important factor for BMSB.
Our results indicate that this system is effective for organic production but will require a BMSB-specific pheromone lure, or an organic mortality inducing agent, that can be incorporated within the trap crop perimeter in order to effectively reduce BMSB damage to the cash crops.
The objective of this study was to develop an environmentally and economically sustainable BMSB management method that can be used on USDA-certified organic farms. The project specifically aimed to test a chemical-free system that combined a highly attractive trap crop buffer with baited pheromone traps in replicated field plots on a working certified organic farm. Performance targets were as follows:
• Establish four replicates containing mixed vegetable field plots (okra, tomato, sweet pepper and summer squash) that adhered to commercial organic production techniques
• Determine if BMSB display directionality with respect to colonization of the plots
• Determine BMSB host-use preference, with respect to the four cash crops studied
• Determine the relative suitability (i.e., attractiveness) of species studied as trap-crop plants (green amaranth and sunflower)
• Evaluate the effectiveness of the trap crop system for protection of the four cash crops (i.e., BMSB densities on the cash crops, BMSB damage levels, and crop yields)
• Perform statistical analyses and evaluate the results
• Provide a Twilight Farm Tour (via collaboration with our county Extension Agent, Mary Beth Bennett, and our project Technical Advisor, Tracy Leskey, USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station), to demonstrate the trap cropping tactic and disseminate project results
• Disseminate research findings to a wide audience of farmers and agricultural professionals via publication of a Technical Bulletin, to be provided free to those attending our farm meeting and for dissemination by our County Extension Office, via electronic publication on our farm website (www.redbudfarm.com) and on the national BMSB Working Group website that is hosted by the Northeastern IPM Center (http://www.northeastipm.org/index.cfm/working-groups/bmsb-working-group/bmsb-information/), and via oral presentation at relevant professional meetings
The project successfully tested a chemical-free system that combined a highly attractive trap crop buffer with baited pheromone traps in replicated field plots on a working certified organic farm. Project accomplishments include:
• Successfully established four replicates containing mixed vegetable field plots (okra, tomato, sweet pepper and summer squash) that adhered to commercial organic production techniques
• Determined that BMSB did not display any overall directionality with respect to colonization of the plots; rather, the BMSB apparently were most affected by previous host-plant history in the plots, with greater pest densities in the field that traditionally produced vegetables, as compared to the field previously in grain production
• Determined BMSB host-use preference, with okra being most preferred, followed by tomato and then pepper; determined that BMSB did not use summer squash when the other hosts were in the vicinity
• Determined the relative suitability (i.e., attractiveness) of sunflower as a trap-crop plant, finding a high degree of attraction that was season-long; the study did not evaluate amaranth due to crop failure
• Successfully evaluated the effectiveness of the trap cropping system for protection of the four cash crops; gathered data on BMSB densities on the cash crops, BMSB damage levels, and seasonal crop yields
• Performed statistical analyses and evaluated the results
• Provided a Twilight Farm Tour (via collaboration with our county Extension Agent, Mary Beth Bennett, and our project Technical Advisor, Tracy Leskey, USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station), on 30 August 2012, demonstrating the trap cropping tactic and presenting research findings; the tour was attended by Extension professionals, researchers from local universities, the USDA and the BMSB Working Group, and local growers; Technical Bulletins featuring preliminary research results were provided free of charge
• Disseminated research findings to a wide audience of farmers and agricultural professionals via a Technical Bulletin featuring preliminary research results, via electronic publication of findings on our farm website (www.redbudfarm.com) and on the national BMSB Working Group website that is hosted by the Northeastern IPM Center (http://www.northeastipm.org/index.cfm/working-groups/bmsb-working-group/bmsb-information/),
• Disseminated research findings to >150 growers, researchers and Extension professionals in an oral presentation entitled ”Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Host-Use in Organic Vegetables with Trap Crop” at the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern IPM Center’s BMSB Working Group on 27 November 2012, in Winchester, VA
• Disseminated research findings to >40 researchers and agricultural professionals in an oral presentation entitled ” Integrated Trap Crop and Pheromone Trap System for Organic Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” at the Annual National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America on 11 November 2012, in Knoxville, TN
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Currently no economically viable or environmentally sustainable BMSB management tactics exist for certified organic farming operations (See http://njaes.rutgers.edu/stinkbug/control.asp). Our study explored the effectiveness of a novel and sustainable approach to BMSB management, combining trap crop buffers with baited pheromone traps. This non-chemical approach prevents agricultural pollution and reduces environmental and health risks in agriculture by eliminating significant volumes of insecticides currently being applied to target BMSB.
Furthermore, the tactic conserves biota and enhances soil and water quality through reduced pesticide runoff or percolation to ground water. The findings of our study will significantly contribute to the current body of knowledge regarding trap cropping to reduce BMSB, as they provide much needed information regarding four key vegetable crops, as well as potential trap crop species. As this research was carried-out on a working farm that has been under organic management since 1998, the findings are critical to understanding how the trap crop approach works under real-life conditions. Our findings will be used to inform trap cropping field research methodologies for a recently launched multi-institutional effort to combat BMSB (“Whole Farm Management of BMSB and Endemic Pentatomids,” funded by USDA OREI) in organic agriculture.
Once a species-specific pheromone lure becomes commercially available for use in traps placed within the trap crop perimeter, this system has the potential to significantly enhance farm productivity by reducing crop losses, ultimately increasing the economic viability of organic farms in the mid-Atlantic region. The tactic has wide transferability to agricultural practices throughout the Northeast.
USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station
2217 Wiltshire Rd.
Kearneysville, WV 25430
Office Phone: 3017253451