Multicrop Pest Management

Image depicts a southern green stink bug on a wheat plant.Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecological approach to pest control that uses a combination of management strategies. By emphasizing ecological based methods, more permanent and sustainable solutions are achieved by reducing the selection pressure on any one given tactic. This can often lead to reduced insecticide use. Research on field crop IPM is being conducted at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in several systems, visit commodity research pages for pest management information specific to that commodity.

Stink Bug Ecology & Development of Environmentally-Friendly Management Practices

Stink bugs are currently the major sucking bug pest on cotton in South Carolina. Three species are responsible for the majority of the damage: the green stink bug, Acrosternum hilare (Say), the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.), and the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say). The management of stink bug and plant bug infestations on cotton currently relies on scouting and the use of insecticides when thresholds are met. Research is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jeremy Greene (Edisto REC) to improve sampling plans of both injured bolls and stink bugs in cotton.
Image depicts a sampling stink bugs in a wheat field sweep net.
In addition to being pests on cotton, phytophagous stink bugs are serious pests of corn, soybean and tobacco in South Carolina. Developing our understanding of the ecology of stink bugs and their natural enemies will help identify strategies that will mitigate their impact on major field crops in South Carolina and provide environmentally friendly strategies. Stink bug infestations are closely tied to crop phenology and seasonal succession of host plants. Image depicts a stink bug emergence trap at an on-farm study in Lee County.

To understand the qualitative and quantitative changes in populations, stink bugs and their natural enemies are being studied at the agroecosystem level, not only on the crop hosts, but also on alternate host plants. Dynamics of polyphagous insects such as stink bugs often depend on the distribution and abundance of selected host plants (crops and non-crops). A better understanding of stink bug dispersal can assist in improving their management. Including a spatial component in this work (using GPS and GIS techniques) will increase our understanding of the dispersal ability of stink bugs and their natural enemies among and within the major field crops in South Carolina. 

For more information regarding pest management, contact Dr. Francis Reay-Jones.