Authored by Anne L. Nielsen,1,2 Galen Dively,3 John M. Pote,1 Gladis Zinati,4 and Clarissa Mathews5


The invasive brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, poses significant risk to organic farming systems because they rely on biological control, nonsynthetic inputs, and cultural tactics for pest management. This study evaluated the potential of five crop plants (sorghum, admiral pea, millet, okra, and sunflower) to be used as trap crops under organic production in four mid-Atlantic states. Stink bug (H. halys and endemic species) densities and host plant phenologies were recorded weekly (mid-June through September). Sorghum attracted significantly more H. halys than the other crops evaluated, followed by sunflower and okra. Seasonal average H. halys density was 1.5–4x higher on sorghum than the other crops (P < 0.05), depending on site. Endemic stink bugs were equally attracted to all crops except admiral pea. A significant effect of time was detected (P < 0.0001), with H. halys densities initially higher on sunflower; as the sunflower senesced, sorghum supported significantly higher average H. halys densities. While sunflower and sorghum phenologies differed, these crops together provided a 5-wk attraction period coinciding with peak H. halys activity. The efficacies of pheromone-baited traps, flaming, applying OMRI-approved insecticides (Azera and Venerate), and vacuuming to removing stink bugs were evaluated as a management tactic. Flaming was the most effective treatment against H. halys and endemic stink bugs. Our results suggest that a trap crop composed of sorghum and sunflower may be an effective management tool for the mid-Atlantic stink bug complex, including H. halys. Future research should address the appropriate size and placement of trap crop within the farm.

Read full article