Could “The Nazgûl” deter brown marmorated stink bugs?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is a highly invasive bug from Southeast Asia which has rapidly expanded into the USA, Europe and South America and feeds on a wide range of plants. BMSB poses an enormous economic risk to New Zealand, where it has been intercepted at the border on a number of occasions.

New Zealand surveillance to detect BMSB currently relies on sticky pheromone panels which are low cost but inefficient, hence there is a need to develop more efficient novel trapping systems. In this study scientists from Plant & Food Research, along with colleagues from New Zealand and Italy, investigated the potential use of ghost traps to manage BMSB. Ghost traps are free standing traps that use aggregation pheromones and insecticide nets.

The scientists created a novel trap termed “The Nazgûl”, consisting of a pheromone-baited-coat hanger covered with dark insecticide-treated mesh. The Tolkein reference to Nazgûl refers to the sinister appearance of the trap and may help engage the New Zealand community around future biosecurity responses to BMSB.

The novel Nazgûl trap caught up to 3.5 more nymphs and adult BMSB than the baited sticky panels and could be employed in the future as part of a semiochemical-based eradication programme to remove future offspring by attracting and removing females and nymphs.

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