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Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits

Date:
March 25, 2014
Source:
Entomological Society of America
Summary:
Entomologists suggest that stink bug traps in the garden may actually increase stink bug damage to tomatoes. 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 tomato plants 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.

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 tomato plants 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 stink bug trap near a plant may actually result in greater abundance of stink bugs on the fruit," the researchers wrote. "Vegetable gardens with traps may sustain more injury than those without traps."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sargent, Chris; Martinson, Holly M.; Raupp, Michael J. Traps and Trap Placement May Affect Location of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and Increase Injury to Tomato Fruits in Home Gardens. Environmental Entomology, March 2014 DOI: 10.1603/EN13237

Cite This Page:

Entomological Society of America. "Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325121505.htm>.
Entomological Society of America. (2014, March 25). Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325121505.htm
Entomological Society of America. "Stink bug traps may increase damage to tomato fruits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325121505.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

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