Date of Award:

8-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biology

Advisor/Chair:

Diane G. Alston

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Lori R. Spears

Third Advisor:

John Stevens

Abstract

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a major insect pest that causes economic loss to a diversity of U.S. fruit and vegetable crops, and invades homes and human structures, causing nuisance issues for homeowners. This destructive insect causes millions of dollars of crop damage annually, and is difficult to manage due to its resistance to some common insecticides. BMSB is a relatively new pest to Utah, and its biology and ecology is not well known in the high elevation, arid Intermountain West region. In Chapter II, I explored the potential impact of BMSB to tart cherry, an unstudied crop in regards to BMSB susceptibility. I determined that tart cherry fruits may abort if fed on by BMSB from the flower petal-fall through fruit pit-hardening stages, causing severe economic loss. In Chapter III, I evaluated several commercially available stink bug traps baited with pheromone lures in diverse specialty crop habitats to assess BMSB location preferences and attraction to traps. These results will guide BMSB monitoring and management decision-making. I found that Utah specialty crop fields are often small enough in size that BMSB invades the entire site and does not concentrate around field borders as in other U.S. regions. Additionally, I determined that pyramid-style traps were more effective in attracting BMSB under low densities as experienced in Utah to-date. Lastly, in Chapters IV and V, I discuss findings and results of surveys for parasitoid wasps that attack and kill developing BMSB eggs, and share extension materials aimed to inform growers and the public about biological control agents of this pest in the Utah agricultural landscape.

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