- Fruits: peaches, general tree fruits
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research
- Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, trap crops
Stink bugs (3 species) are major direct pests of peach in the Eastern U.S., which move into orchards from weed and tree hosts to cause various types of injury throughout most of the growing season. Injury near harvest results in decay and fruit loss during storage, and may also contribute to fruit loss from brown rot, a fungal disease. The cancellation of Penncap-M (primary organophosphate insecticide for stink bug control), in 1999 due to FQPA, has resulted in increased use of pyrethroids which has: 1) caused mite outbreaks because of toxicity to predators, 2) reduced or eliminated predators, and 3) increased miticide use. A trap crop of cowpeas was successful in reducing stink bug damage in pecans by 50 percent in the mid-1990s. This project proposes to investigate the use of an aggregation pheromone lure in combination with cowpeas to create a “super” attractive trap crop for managing stink bugs in peach, which represents a novel approach. Pheromone-baited cowpea plots will be established along a woods border to attract stink bugs. Plots will be sprayed with insecticide to kill stink bugs while they are in the nymphal stage, before becoming adults which could fly to the peach orchard. Trap crop effectiveness will be determined by assessing peach fruit for injury at varying distances into the orchard adjacent to cowpea plots and in control (non-trap crop) areas of the orchard. A baited trap crop has the potential to: 1) improve fruit quality and reduce fruit losses; 2) reduce insecticide use; 3) delay development of insecticide resistance; 4) reduce mite outbreaks and miticide application; 5) conserve insect predator populations; and 6) reduce insecticide residues. The above benefits would promote a more sustainable peach orchard ecosystem.
Project objectives from proposal:
During the past two years, the Project Leader and Consultant have been investigating various trap types, unbaited and baited with an aggregation pheromone (methyl 2,4-decadienoate), for monitoring stink bugs in apple and peach orchards. Although this pheromone is specific for Euschistus spp. (brown and dusky stink bugs), green stink bugs were also attracted to baited traps late in the season. It was also found that the attractiveness of common mullein, a favored weed host of stink bugs, could be enhanced by the addition of aggregation pheromone.
In the mid-1990s, entomologists demonstrated that cowpeas could be used as a trap crop to attract stink bugs moving from soybeans to pecans, thereby reducing injury to pecans by 50 percent. The idea occurred that using the aggregation pheromone in combination with cowpeas would make a highly attractive (“super”) trap crop that should be investigated as a stink bug management tool in peach.
A pheromone-baited trap crop of cowpeas, planted at the woods edge of a peach orchard, should attract stink bugs that move from the woods to the peach trees and could possibly even lure stink bugs from the orchard. Cowpeas would be treated with insecticide when the stink bugs are in the nymphal stage, thus providing control before development to winged adults which could fly to peach trees to inflict fruit injury.
If successful, the trap crop has the potential to: 1) improve fruit quality and reduce late season fruit losses from stink bugs; 2) reduce dependence upon insecticides for stink bug control; 3) delay development of insecticide resistance; 4) reduce mite outbreaks and miticide application resulting from increased pyrethroid use; 5) conserve insect predator populations which have been reduced or eliminated by increased pyrethroid use; and 6) reduce insecticide residues, especially late season, on peach fruit. The above benefits would promote a more sustainable peach orchard ecosystem.