Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 90, Issue 4, pp 1245–1255 | Cite as

Evaluating a polyculture trap crop for organic management of Halyomorpha halys and native stink bugs in peppers

  • Clarissa R. MathewsEmail author
  • Brett Blaauw
  • Galen Dively
  • James Kotcon
  • Jennifer Moore
  • Emily Ogburn
  • Douglas G. Pfeiffer
  • Taliaferro Trope
  • James F. Walgenbach
  • Celeste Welty
  • Gladis Zinati
  • Anne L. Nielsen
Original Paper


Organic farming systems are significantly challenged by the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Stål) and native stink bug species that injure vegetable crops. This two-year study evaluated a polyculture trap crop composed of sunflower and sorghum for organic pepper production at 11 sites in 8 mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states. Stink bug densities in the trap crop and peppers were recorded weekly (mid-June through September), and stink bug fruit injury was compared for trap crop-protected and unprotected control peppers. The trap crop was highly attractive, harboring 5–50× more stink bugs per m2 than the peppers and providing an 8-week attraction period coinciding with peak stink bug activity. Despite this attractiveness, the trap crop was not effective at diverting adult stink bugs away from the pepper crop during the early fruiting period at most sites. However, the average density of stink bug nymphs in pepper plots surrounded by trap crops was 4× lower than controls 5 weeks after planting for pooled sites. Trap crop-protected peppers also had significantly less injury compared to control peppers pooled across sites and years. However, the resulting reduction in pepper damage was insufficient to be economically viable. Overall, results provide evidence that a polyculture trap crop was most effective during the latter weeks of the pepper crop cycle. Future research should address spatial arrangement of the trap crop or integration of complimentary management tactics within the trap crop earlier in the growing season to target the initial colonizing adult stink bugs.


Stink bug Hemiptera: Pentatomidae Organic management Habitat manipulation Sunflower Sorghum Pepper injury 



We thank the farmers who generously provided their land and field support to make this research possible and numerous student interns and volunteers in the Mathews, Dively, Nielsen and Wszelaki labs. This project was funded by United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant #2012-51300-20097.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

CM, BB, GD, JK, JM, TT, DP, EO, JW, CW, GZ and AN declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. Blaauw BR, Jones VP, Nielsen AL (2016) Utilizing immunomarking techniques to track Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) movement and distribution within a peach orchard. PeerJ 4:e1997. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1997 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Blaauw BR, Morrison WR, Mathews CR, Leskey TC, Nielsen AL (2017) Measuring host plant selection and retention of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) by a trap crop. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. Accepted 23 Dec 2016Google Scholar
  3. Dobson R, Rogers M, Moore J, Bessin R (2016) Exclusion of the brown marmorated stink bug from peppers using barrier screens. HortTechnology 26:191–198Google Scholar
  4. Haye T, Gariepy T, Hoelmer K, Rossi JP, Streito JC, Tassus X, Desneux N (2015) Range expansion of the invasive brown marmorated stinkbug, Halyomorpha halys: an increasing threat to field, fruit and vegetable crops worldwide. J Pest Sci 88:665–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hokkanen HMT (1991) Trap cropping in pest management. Annu Rev Entomol 36:119–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Holden MH, Ellner SP, Lee D-H, Nyrop JP, Sanderson JP (2012) Designing an effective trap cropping strategy: the effects of attraction, retention and plant spatial distribution. J Appl Ecol 49:715–722Google Scholar
  7. Kuhar T, Morrison R, Leskey T, Aigner J, Dively G, Zobel E, Brust J, Whalen J, Cissel B, Walgenbach J, Rice K, Fleischer S, Rondon S (2016) Integrated pest management for brown marmorated stink bug in vegetables. Accessed 22 Apr 2016
  8. Lee D-H, Short BD, Bergh SJ, Leskey TC (2013) Review of the biology, ecology, and management of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Environ Entomol 42(4):627–641CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Lee D-H, Short BD, Nielsen AL, Leskey TC (2014) Impact of organic insecticides on the survivorship and mobility of Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in the laboratory. Fla Entomol 97(2):414–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Leskey TC, Hamilton GC, Nielsen AL, Polk DF, Rodriguez-Sanoa C, Bergh CJ, Herbert DA, Kuhar TP, Pfeiffer DG, Dively GP, Hooks CRR, Raupp MJ, Shrewsbury PM, Krawczyk G, Shearer PW, Whalen J, Koplinka-Loehr C, Myers E, Inkley D, Hoelmer KA, Lee D-H, Wright SE (2012) Pest status of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys in the USA. Outlooks Pest Manag 23:218–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McPherson JE, McPherson RM (2000) Stink bugs of economic importance in America North of Mexico. CRC Press LLC, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mizell RF, Riddle TC, Blount AS (2008) Trap cropping system to suppress stink bugs in the Southern coastal plain. Proc Fla State Hort Soc 121:377–382Google Scholar
  13. Nielsen AL, Hamilton GC (2009) Life history of the invasive species Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Northeastern United States. Ann Entomol Soc Am 102:608–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nielsen AL, Dively GP, Pote JM, Zinati G, Mathews C (2016) Identifying a potential trap crop for a novel insect pest, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), in organic farms. Environ Entomol 45:472–478CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. SAS Institute Inc (2013) The SAS system, Release 9.4. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  16. Shelton AM, Badenes-Perez FR (2006) Concepts and applications of trap cropping in pest management. Annu Rev Entomol 51:285–308CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Soergel DC, Ostiguy N, Fleischer SJ, Troyer RR, Rajotte EG, Krawczyk G (2015) Sunflower as a potential trap crop of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in pepper fields. Environ Entomol 44(6):1581–1589CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Talamas EJ, Herlihy MV, Dieckhoff C, Hoelmer KA, Buffington M, Bon MC, Weber DC (2015) Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera, Scelionidae) emerges in North America. J Hymenopt Res 43:119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tillman PG, Northfield TD, Mizell RF, Riddle TC (2009) Spatiotemporal patterns and dispersal of stink bugs (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in peanut-cotton farmscapes. Environ Entomol 38:1038–1052CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards (2016) ELECTRONIC CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS Title 7, Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter M, §205.206. Accessed 22 Apr 2016
  21. Venugopal PD, Coffey PL, Dively GP, Lamp WO (2014) Adjacent habitat influence on stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) densities and the associated injury at field corn and soybean edges. PLoS ONE 9:e109917CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Voshell R (2015) Interactions of brown marmorated stink bug, Colletotrichum acutatum and trap crops in organic tomato production. M.S. Thesis, West Virginia UniversityGoogle Scholar
  23. Wallner AM, Hamilton GC, Nielsen AL, Hahn N, Green EJ, Rodriguez-Saona CR (2014) Landscape factors facilitating the invasive dynamics and distribution of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), after arrival in the United States. PLoS ONE 9(5):e95691CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Zehnder G, Gurr GM, Kühne S, Wade SR, Wratten SD, Wyss E (2007) Arthropod pest management in organic crops. Annu Rev Entomol 52:57–80CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Zobel ES, Hooks CRR, Dively GP (2016) Seasonal abundance, host suitability, and feeding injury of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), in selected vegetables. J Econ Entomol. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow055 PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarissa R. Mathews
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Brett Blaauw
    • 3
  • Galen Dively
    • 4
  • James Kotcon
    • 5
  • Jennifer Moore
    • 6
  • Emily Ogburn
    • 7
  • Douglas G. Pfeiffer
    • 8
  • Taliaferro Trope
    • 8
  • James F. Walgenbach
    • 7
  • Celeste Welty
    • 9
  • Gladis Zinati
    • 10
  • Anne L. Nielsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental and Physical SciencesShepherd UniversityShepherdstownUSA
  2. 2.Redbud Farm, LLCInwoodUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyRutgers UniversityBridgetonUSA
  4. 4.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  5. 5.Division of Plant and Soil SciencesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  6. 6.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  7. 7.Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension CenterNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  8. 8.Department of EntomologyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  9. 9.Department of EntomologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  10. 10.The Rodale InstituteKutztownUSA

Personalised recommendations