Influence of landscape factors and abiotic conditions on dispersal behavior and overwintering site selection by Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)
Leskey, Tracy C.
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Since the initial detection of the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Stål) in the United States in the late 1990s, this insect has emerged as a severe agricultural and nuisance pest. Nuisance problems are due to adult dispersal to overwintering sites in the fall at which time they alight onto and eventually settle within humanmade structures in addition to natural harborage. This study examined how three factors, elevation, light, and moisture affected overwintering site selection by H. halys in the mid-Atlantic. Observational counts performed along elevational transects revealed elevation was significant predictor of H. halys abundance during both years of the study in 2014 and 2015 with more adults observed at higher elevations. Choice tests examining effects of moisture and light on settling behavior demonstrated H. halys settled within overwintering shelter boxes in significantly greater numbers when shelters were dry compared with those having moist conditions, and in darkened shelters compared with those augmented with LED lights. Our findings indicate that H. halys use cues at both landscape and very localized levels when seeking and selecting overwintering sites.