Halyomorpha halys, a serious threat for hazelnut in newly invaded areas.
Following its first detection, Halyomorpha halys has become a key pest in many crops in NW Italy. In this area, one of the most important crops is hazelnut, in which the species can cause severe damage through feeding on nuts. Therefore, semi-field trials were carried out in NW Italy to compare the harmfulness of H. halys with that of the local hazelnut bug species, such as Gonocerus acuteangulatus, Nezara viridula, and Palomena prasina. Additionally, a 2-year field survey was conducted in hazel groves in NW Italy and W Georgia, another important hazelnut cropping area, to assess the presence and abundance of the new invasive species and to evaluate the damage at harvest. Monitoring was carried out by plant beating and by commercial traps throughout the growing season. In semi-field trials, H. halys was the most harmful species, causing the highest damage in kernels, and was able to survive and reproduce at higher rates. During field surveys in NW Italy, H. halys was sampled in groves late in the season in 2015 and, with higher populations, throughout the season in 2016. In W Georgia, bug population levels consistently increased in the 2-year period, resulting in a significant increase in damage at harvest in 2016. A similar trend is hence expected also in NW Italy in the following years. Moreover, data on individuals collected in different points of the hazelnut groves confirmed the border-driven behavior of this pest, leading to consideration of potential integrated pest management solutions.