In the effort to control the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), agricultural and urban pest management professionals may have a new tool to add to collection: long-lasting insecticide nets.
Having been primarily used in protecting against malaria and other insect-vectored diseases, long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs), which have insecticide incorporated within their fibers and offer multiyear effectiveness, have recently begun to attract attention from researchers for use in other pest-management settings. In a paper published today in the Journal of Economic Entomology, a research team led by Virginia Tech’s Thomas Kuhar, Ph.D., report that such nets are “quite toxic” to brown marmorated stink bugs and open up a variety of possible uses for managing the pest.
“Relatively little work has been done to explore the uses of insecticide netting in an agricultural setting,” Kuhar says. “We thought that the invasive brown marmorated stink bug might be just the pest to begin assessing this tool for agricultural pest management.”
Kuhar and fellow researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Appalachian Fruit Research Station and the Fruit Research and Extension Center at Pennsylvania State University tested the ZeroFly screen, a LLIN incorporated with deltamethrin, in two ways: directly exposing the stink bugs to the netting for various time intervals and placing a sheet of netting inside a pheromone trap.
“We were a little surprised at how little time was required in contact with the screen in order to kill the bugs,” says Kuhar. A 10-second exposure killed 90 percent of nymphs and 40 percent of adult stink bugs in the first experiment. And, in the traps, the netting “performed as well as and lasted longer than the standard fumigant strip that is typically used in trap tops,” he says.
The study focused narrowly on the toxicity of the LLIN to brown marmorated stink bug, but it opens the door to further research on specific applications, such as row covers over crops, screened fences, or attracticidal traps.
“There are almost endless possibilities of how this treated screen could be used in different agricultural systems. At Virginia Tech we will be further investigating attract-and-kill designs with the screens for control of brown marmorated stink bug,” Kuhar says.
Journal of Economic Entomology