Host plant effects on the biology, behavior and ecology of brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)


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Virginia Tech


Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is a polyphagous, invasive, and highly significant pest of mid-Atlantic fruit orchards. Its capacity to invade orchards season-long is believed to be facilitated by the availability of wild host plants near orchards and the high dispersal capacity of adults and nymphs. Interactions between H. halys and its hosts were investigated via laboratory and field experiments. Rearing H. halys nymphs in the laboratory on several of its known wild and tree fruit hosts used alone and in combination showed that peach was much more suitable for nymphal development and survival than was apple, tree of heaven, or catalpa and that nymphal performance was enhanced on mixed host diets. Nymphs reared on different host plant diets yielded adults that differed in protein, sugar or lipid content, offering new insights into plant diet effects on H. halys nutrition. The majority of tree species identified from unmanaged woodlands next to apple orchards in Virginia and West Virginia were known hosts of H. halys. Passive trunk traps were developed to capture H. halys nymphs walking up and down tree trunks and used to measure their temporal patterns of movement onto and off of wild and tree fruit hosts at the orchard-woodland interface via weekly assessments during two consecutive seasons. More upward- than downward-walking nymphs were captured, which may be partially explained by the positively phototactic and negatively geotactic behavior of H. halys nymphs demonstrated in laboratory studies. Most nymphs captured while walking up and down trunks were second instars, although the data also reflected temporal changes in the distribution of instars and temporal variation in the numbers of nymphs captured. A field study to characterize injuries to apple and peach fruit at harvest from feeding by young or older nymphs early or late in the season revealed that feeding by young nymphs early in the season resulted in least injury to both crops. In combination, these studies greatly improve our understanding of the biology and ecology of H. halys in eastern fruit orchards and provide relevant data that will inform the development of ecologically-based management programs for it.



host plant suitability, nymphal development, nutrient analysis, nymphal trapping, trunk trap, tree survey, nymphal injury, tree fruit, orchard, apple, peach, catalpa, tree of heaven