Factors Influencing Behavior of Overwintering Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys) in Human Dwellings
Chambers, Benjamin D.
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The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) (Stål) is known for overwintering in human homes. Studies were conducted to understand the behavior of adult bugs in response to characteristics of potential overwintering structures including gap sizes, light, and presence of dead conspecifics. In a test where bugs were placed in increasingly tight boxes, most bugs settled in gaps 4.5 - 5.5 mm high. None settled in a space less than 3.5 mm high. In boxes with constant tightness, bugs tended to move to the back, and primarily settled along walls and in corners. In both box types, bugs tended to turn and face the cavity entrance during settling. In tests of responses of disturbed overwintering bugs to common household light bulbs over the course of a year, bugs were taken from shelters and exposed to lit bulbs. Bug responses were seasonal, with attraction to light bulbs in spring and summer, but little or no consistent response in fall or winter. The lack of response occurred more often at night than in afternoons. Because not all bugs survive the winter, corpses can accumulate. Single shelter-seeking H. halys were found not to respond to the presence of dead aggregations from the previous years unless touch was possible, in which case aggregations were joined. Dead aggregations from the same year had a repellent effect. Presence of a single dead bug from the same year did not provide any survivorship advantage to overwintering bugs. Results suggest possible improvements to trap shelters.
General Audience Abstract
The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is known for overwintering in human homes. This research investigated the responses of these bugs to some characteristics of overwintering structures, including crevice tightness preference, light sources, and dead bugs leftover from previous years. Tightness experiments indicated that bugs in crevices with hard walls prefer to settle in spaces between 4.5 and 5.5 mm high. Bugs also tended to stay on the floor, go back as far as they could, and face the entrance of the crevice. These findings will help improve overwintering box designs for collection and research, and will help pest control professionals focus their efforts. When bugs were disturbed and exposed to common household light bulbs, they tended to move toward the bulbs in late summer and in spring, but responded less in fall and winter, and responded more often in the afternoon than at night. Bugs were also exposed to other dead bugs in several ways. When lone bugs were exposed to groups of dead bugs from previous years, they went to them only if they could touch them. Single dead bugs had less of an impact. Exposure to groups of dead bugs from the same year drove live bugs away. Overwintering brown marmorated stink bugs do not appear to eat other bugs that have recently died. These results suggest several possible improvements to the designs of trap shelters used for research and control.
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