A predatory stink bug looks to be a promising candidate in the search for a biological control agent against southern stink bug in the Netherlands, research at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has found.
Southern stink bug, Nezara viridula, is a pest of protected crops which has migrated north from southern Europe. In the Netherlands it is known to cause damage to capsicum peppers in particular, as well as cucumbers, aubergines and gerberas.
WUR has looked at a range of options, such as traps, insect-killing fungi and natural enemies including the predatory stink bug Podisus maculiventris, which preys on the pest’s nymph stage. “It can establish itself very well in peppers on an alternative food source in the absence of the pest,” said the university. “An additional advantage is that it is known as a biocontrol agent of caterpillars.” P. maculiventris is exotic in origin but has a permit for use in the Netherlands.
Speaking at the Cucumber Growers Association’s conference in October, technical consultant Ian Bedford said southern stink bugs in UK greenhouses had been at low levels over the 2021 summer although some growers may have encountered pockets of more serious problems.
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