Mating disruption and reduced-risk methods to control peach pests and brown marmorated stink bug

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2013: $14,833.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Dean Polk
Rutgers University

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: peaches, general tree fruits
  • Additional Plants: native plants


  • Crop Production: cover crops, application rate management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mating disruption, traps
  • Production Systems: permaculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Peach IPM programs have included reduced risk insecticides, phenology models, mating disruption, cultural and biological controls, and economic threshold levels. For example, mating disruption for oriental fruit moth and turf ground cover for catfacing insect management significantly reduces insecticide use. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) threatens to unravel these and other IPM practices. BMSB has over 300 hosts, including many specialty and orchard crops where damage can occur season-long making it the primary key stone fruit pest in the mid-Atlantic. BMSB feeds and reproduces within tree fruit with all life-stages causing damage. Observations have shown that BMSB constantly disperses between wild hosts to fruit crops causing repeated “waves” of feeding, especially along crop perimeters. The only tools to date include frequent repeated applications of broad spectrum insecticides. This is costly, will build pest resistance, kill beneficial insects, and may have negative impacts on water quality, and pollinators. Based on preliminary work done in 2012, we propose to develop a systems approach IPM program that reintroduces mating disruption and ground cover management, coupled with border sprays only for BMSB control. Goals are to reduce insecticide use, decrease grower production costs, maintain beneficial populations, and reduce pest resistance issues while maintaining crop quality. A monitoring program will help adjust management for secondary pests. We will work in commercial orchards with growers who have already stated they need other tools that reduce insecticide applications. As part of an existing extension program it includes grower meetings, newsletters, broadcast emails and personnel communication.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1)Investigate and demonstrate border/perimeter sprays for BMSB in peach orchards under OFM mating disruption and ground cover management compared to whole block broadcast treatments to reduce total insecticide use.
    2)Calculate the cost of a “restructured” IPM program and obtain grower feedback.
    3)Establish extension recommendations, document changes in NJ grower practices and reductions in insecticide use.

    3. Project Methods:
    No programs have previously combined the use of ground cover management, mating disruption, monitoring and border sprays for systems-level insect management including BMSB. This project follows a limited single season trial of using similar methods. In order to formulate reliable management recommendations, a minimum of 2 years of this program are needed, preferably with higher BMSB pressure than was present during 2012. This proposal represents a second and more comprehensive year of a project started on a pilot basis in 2012. The target audience is the NJ commercial peach and nectarine industry, and ultimately the mid-Atlantic/eastern peach industry. Since peach orchards are concentrated in southern NJ - Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties, this work will be carried out on commercial farms in that area. One of the project goals is to manage BMSB within an IPM program, using treated borders in place of broadcast whole block sprays, and rotate and time insecticides with effective monitoring. Border applications will be a critical component of this project to increase treatment efficiency and reduce insecticide use. For example, a 5 acre square planting (about 467’ x 467’), if treated on the border only covering the outer 2 rows would apply insecticide on only .86 ac, or almost 1/6 of the total acreage, an 83% reduction in insecticide use per application.

    The project will be incorporated into the existing Rutgers Cooperative Extension Fruit IPM Program, conducted by one of the PIs (D. Polk). The project will be a team effort between this program and the research/extension efforts from Dr. Anne Nielsen’s peach IPM research/extension program. In order to evaluate our systems level approach, three farms each with two peach blocks of the same variety will participate in the study for 1 year. To achieve maximum BMSB pressure, late variety peaches will be used – cv. Jerseyqueen or later. One block per farm will be maintained as the grower standard (GS), and have a monitoring program, but use a standard insecticide program of full cover insecticides for BMSB and other insect and disease control, usually every 10-14 days. The other block will be used as the reduced input/border spray mating disruption plot (BSMD).

    Each test block will:

    • Deploy mating disruption for OFM.
    • Utilize border sprays for BMSB on a weekly interval when pressure warrants. Border sprays include the perimeter of the orchard as well as the first full row.
    • Initiate orchard floor management to control broad-leafed weeds that harbor native catfacing insects, and thrips.

    OFM mating disruption lures will be obtained from CBC America (Biocontrol Isomate M-100), and hand applied at the rate of 100 dispensers per acre at the end of the first OFM flight period. Early season pest management for 1st generation OFM, plum curculio and other pests such as green peach aphid will be applied as needed according to the 2013 Rutgers Tree Fruit Production Guide. Participating growers will supply the required hand labor and record the time needed for placement. Turf ground cover will require the elimination of clover and other broadleaf weeds. A single application of clopyralid (Stinger®) will be made if needed in the BSMD block.

    At each of the three cooperating farms, each block will have 2 pyramid traps baited with a synthetic BMSB aggregation pheromone, lure #10 placed on the outside border, 30-50 feet from the crop. Lure #10 has recently been developed by USDA and tested throughout the mid-Atlantic area (Leskey pers. comm.). Within each block, catfacing insects, BMSB and OFM populations and damage will be monitored weekly in 2 transects through visual counts, pheromone traps and sweep nets. Each transect sample will include 2 perimeter samples, 2 interior samples (6 rows in) and a center sample. Each sample will include 2 three minute timed counts (each c.a. 1.5 trees) for BMSB adults, nymphs and eggs, ground cover sweep sampling, whole tree counts for OFM flagging, and direct fruit counts for pest damage, for a total of 9 samples/block. OFM sex pheromone traps will be deployed in the center of each block to measure OFM population density, the biofix for the 4 generations, and the initial timing for mating disruption dispenser placement in the test blocks. Such rigorous population monitoring is not expected to be needed under standard grower adoption. However, to accurately assess the population, we feel that this is necessary at this juncture. Each sampling point will be identified with GPS coordinates using a Trimble GeoExplorer and mapped with Arcview (ESRI), so BMSB numbers can be compared to surrounding landscapes, other peach varieties and alternate hosts.
    The influence of spray regimes on natural enemies will be monitored 4x/season with yellow sticky cards within the transect samples. At harvest, 100 fruit from each sample (900 fruit/block and 1800 per farm) will be assessed for all insect damage, including BMSB injury. All fruit will be peeled to assess the number of BMSB feeding sites per fruit. Data will be analyzed with ANOVA. Full comparisons with respect to insect population densities, trap counts, percent fruit damage and types of damage will be evaluated. Pesticide records will be obtained from the growers, and analyzed with t-tests for the number of applications, amount of active ingredient use, and costs based on a standard suggested retail price list.

    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.