By Cory Penca, firstname.lastname@example.org
After 6 weeks of trapping it appears that stink bug numbers in Florida peach orchards are down by over 50%. These results are for the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus, the primary sink bug pest in Florida peach orchards.
Trapping was done at 5 orchard sites in Polk, Lake and Indian River Counties, utilizing a yellow pyramid trap baited with a pheromone lure attractive to several stink bug species. The traps were deployed during the first week of January. Pyramid traps can be used to monitor stink bug populations to determine when control actions might be necessary.
It appears that stink bug populations have begun to increase in mid-February, and could reach damaging levels in late-February and early-March, when Florida peaches are vulnerable to stink bug feeding damage.
Changes in trap capture also differed between locations, with St. Lucie County seeing the largest reduction, though still having the highest trap capture overall. Possible explanations for the decline in early-season trap captures include a colder winter in 2018, which may have reduced winter survival of stink bug populations or reduced their feeding activity during the first 6 weeks of the year.
Continued monitoring will identify if 2018 stink bug numbers remain lower than 2017 throughout the season and damage assessments at harvest will help us determine the impact of stink bug populations on total yield.