Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits

Mar 25, 2014

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an important pest of fruits and vegetables. To counter them, some home gardeners use pheromone-baited traps that are designed to attract, trap, and kill them. However, new research from entomologists at the University of Maryland suggests that the traps may actually increase stink bug damage to tomatoes. The research will appear in the April issue of Environmental Entomology.

The researchers asked 15 gardeners to place stink bug traps at the ends of rows of tomatoes, while another group of 14 placed no traps in their gardens. Both groups experienced nearly the same amount of stink bugs on the themselves, but the the abundance of stink bugs on the tomato fruits was marginally greater in the gardens with traps, and the fruits sustained significantly more injury than tomato fruits grown in gardens without traps. Furthermore, tomato fruits on plants near the traps housed more stink bugs than tomato fruits on plants that were away from the traps.

"We found no evidence that stink bug traps protected tomatoes from H. halys," the authors wrote, "and it appears that the addition of traps to gardens may increase injury to tomato fruits."

The increased damage may have resulted, in part, because of a phenomenon known as "trap spillover," which can occur when pests arrive in the general vicinity of a trap and rest on vegetation before entering and being captured by the trap.

"This study presents evidence that placement of an attract-and-kill trap near a plant may actually result in greater abundance of stink bugs on the ," the researchers wrote. "Vegetable gardens with traps may sustain more injury than those without ."

Explore further: Planting cotton early may mean less stink bug damage

More information: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN13237

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ARS scientists test improved stink bug trapping methods

Jan 18, 2013

Baited black traps in a pyramid shape attract significantly more brown marmorated stink bugs than other traps, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Evaluating stink bug responses ...

Biology and management of the green stink bug

Sep 26, 2012

The green stink bug is one of the most damaging native stink bug species in the United States. Stink bugs feeding on cotton, soybeans, tomatoes, peaches, and other crops can result in cosmetic damage as well ...

Planting cotton early may mean less stink bug damage

Mar 19, 2014

Stink bugs have been consistently ranked among the most damaging insect pests of cotton in the southeastern United States for the past several years. Apart from the feeding damage, stink bugs are capable ...

Combating USDA's top-ranked invasive insect

Jan 07, 2013

First detected in the United States a decade ago, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states, is wreaking havoc in homes and gardens, and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables ...

Recommended for you

Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on

13 hours ago

(AP)—U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary ...

Uphill battle to tackle Indonesian shark fishing

22 hours ago

Sharks are hauled ashore every day at a busy market on the central Indonesian island of Lombok, the hub of a booming trade that provides a livelihood for local fishermen but is increasingly alarming environmentalists.

Virus causing mass Cape Cod duck die-offs identified

Dec 16, 2014

Since 1998, hundreds and sometimes thousands of dead eider ducks have been washing up every year on Cape Cod's beaches in late summer or early fall, but the reasons behind these cyclic die-offs have remained ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.