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Stink Bug Populations in an Active Boll Weevil Eradication Zone in Central Texas

John K. Westbrook and Ritchie S. Eyster


Stink bugs have emerged as an increasingly significant pest complex in the Mid-South and Southeastern regions of the Cotton Belt following reductions in use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Reductions in broad-spectrum insecticide use have been attributed to increased adoption of transgenic cotton containing Bacillus thuringiensis, increased use of selective insecticides, widespread success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program with concomitant reductions in Malathion applications, and increased conservation reserve areas. Stink bugs are highly polyphagous and many of their hosts are found in the Southern Blacklands zone of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program. A field study was conducted to determine seasonal patterns and species composition of stink bugs in various habitats within this active zone of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Only seven stink bugs were collected from twice-weekly sweep net samples in cotton, where an average of 7.4 Malathion applications were made during the 12 May – 24 July sampling period. Southern green stink bugs were more numerous than brown stink bugs, green stink bugs, and rice stink bugs in soybeans and alfalfa. The geographic distribution, suitability, and diversity of host crops and weeds will present a challenging landscape for protection of cotton against stink bugs when the Boll Weevil Eradication Program advances to a maintenance stage. Future research should be directed at patterns of host utilization and dispersal by stink bugs.

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Document last modified 04/27/04