Parasitism and predation of stink bug (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) eggs in Georgia corn fields
Environmental Entomology 39(4): 1184-1194
Nezara viridula L. and Euschistus servus (Say) are the predominant species of phytophagous stink bugs on corn, Zea mays L., in Georgia. Oebalus pugnax pugnax (F.) occurs in relatively low numbers, and the predatory stink bug Podisus maculiventris (Say) is commonly found. Limited information is available on natural biological control of these four stink bug species in Georgia corn fields; therefore, a 6-yr study of parasitism and predation of their eggs was initiated in 2003. Naturally occurring stink bug eggs were parasitized by six scelionid species, Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston), T. thyantae Ashmead, T. brochymenae (Ashmead), T. euschisti (Ashmead), Telenomus podisi Ashmead, Telenomus calvus Johnson, and one encyrtid species, Ooencyrtus sp. T. basalis was the most prevalent parasitoid of N. viridula, parasitizing E. servus and P. maculiventris eggs at low levels. T. podisi, the predominant parasitoid species emerging from eggs of E. servus and P. maculiventris, also parasitized O. p. pugnax eggs exclusively and parasitized N. viridula eggs at low levels. T. euschisti and T. thyantae parasitized E. servus egg masses. T. brochymenae parasitized eggs of both E. servus and P. maculiventris. T. calvus parasitized only P. maculiventris eggs. The same species of egg parasitoids that parasitized naturally occurring eggs of N. viridula and E. servus parasitized sentinel eggs of these bugs, except that no T. calvus and Ooencyrtus sp. were obtained from sentinel eggs, and T. thyantae and T. brochymenae emerged from sentinel eggs of N. viridula. Generally, parasitization of an egg mass was either greater than or equal to predation of sentinel eggs of N. viridula and E. servus. However, on some dates in late June and July, predation of sentinel egg masses was numerically approximately twice as high as parasitism. Results indicate stink bug egg parasitoids and predators are significant factors in the natural biological control of stink bugs in corn fields.