Building attract-and-kill systems for management of the brown marmorated stink bug in apple orchards

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2014: $249,967.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2018
Grant Recipient: USDA-ARS
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples


  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, economic threshold, integrated pest management, traps, attract and kill

    Proposal abstract:

    The invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has caused significant crop losses in apple production in the mid-Atlantic states. Economic analyses conducted by the U.S. Apple Association revealed that BMSB feeding injury resulted in $37 million losses for the apple industry in 2010. A 2012 survey conducted in MD, NJ, PA and VA as part of the BMSB SCRI CAP ( revealed that growers solely relied on insecticides for management of BMSB, and that 247 of 375 respondents applied additional insecticides due to pest pressure.Indeed, growers have rapidly changed their management practices and combated the threat posed by BMSB by including additional applications of broad-spectrum insecticides at frequent intervals. This radical shift in management practices has disrupted long-standing IPM systems leading to secondary pest outbreaks. Growers are eager to adopt new tactics to remove or reduce additional insecticide inputs for BMSB management as current practices are simply not sustainable.  This project will engage mid-Atlantic growers to build attract-and-kill systems for BMSB management in apple orchards and demonstrate the benefits of such an approach. Apple orchards face season-long injury, and in response, growers have rapidly changed their behavior and instituted aggressive insecticide programs that have caused severe disruption to orchard agroecosystems. In particular, natural enemy abundance has plummeted, leading to frequent secondary pest outbreaks, e.g., mites and aphids. To mitigate this problem, we propose to collaborate with affected growers by using the recently-identified BMSB aggregation pheromone plus synergist to develop attract-and-kill systems. We will rely on the aspirations of precision agriculture and develop a sitespecific management regime for BMSB; a strategy that will improve overall sustainability of orchard agroecosystems. Specifically, perimeter-row apple trees baited with the pheromone plus synergist will aggregate BMSB presence at precise locations in border areas. Then by applying insecticides to only those and adjacent trees, i.e., attract-and-kill sites, we will effectively manage BMSB while reducing or eliminating orchard-wide insecticide inputs against this invasive pest. Monitoring traps and provisional thresholds will be used to further ensure that attract-and-kill sites are effectively managing BMSB populations.  Collaborating growers will be integrated into the project team and will receive season-long direct support for pest management decisions. Broader educational initiatives for the greater grower community will be conducted by the project team via real time web-based updates, workshops, and field days at participating grower farms and research facilities.  

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Fifty apple growers in the mid-Atlantic will adopt pheromone-based tools for managing BMSB on 650 acres. Their adoption will reduce total full-block insecticide applications by 40%, decreasing costs from $154 to $92 per acre for season-long BMSB management, with additional savings in in fuel and labor.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.