Injury to apples and peaches at harvest from feeding by Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) nymphs early and late in the season.
Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is an invasive species that has become an important orchard pest in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. Adults and nymphs feed on tree fruit. Feeding injury from adults has been characterized but the injury from nymphs has not been examined systematically. Since the four plant-feeding instars of H. halys (second through fifth) differ substantially in size, it is plausible that the effects of their feeding on fruit injury and injury expression may differ among them. We compared feeding injury at harvest from young nymphs (second plus third instars), older nymphs (fourth plus fifth instars), and adults that were caged on 'Smoothee Golden' apples and 'Redhaven' peaches in early June (peach and apple), late July (peach), and late August (apple). Individual apples and peaches were caged at fruit set and assigned to the following treatments (n=28/treatment): (1) control (no H. halys), (2) young nymphs or (3) adults early in the season, and (4) young nymphs, (5) older nymphs or (6) adults later in the season. Fruit in each treatment were exposed to 3-4 young nymphs, two older nymphs or 1-2 adults placed in the cages for 96 h and evaluated for external and internal feeding injury within 36 h after harvest. No injury was recorded from unexposed peaches or apples. The percentage of injured fruit and number of injuries per fruit varied significantly among the exposed treatments. Early season feeding by young nymphs yielded the least injury to peaches and apples. In apples, the highest percentage of injured fruit and number of injuries per fruit were caused by late season feeding by adults. In peaches, early season adult feeding produced the highest percentage of injured fruit and injuries per fruit. More internal than external injury was recorded on peach and no such difference was observed on apple. The implications of these findings on H. halys management in fruit orchards are discussed.