Sampling methods for adventive Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) in a wild tree host of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae).
Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is an invasive pest that has established in much of the United States. Adventive populations of an effective Asian egg parasitoid of H. halys, Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), have been detected in several states, including Virginia, and its geographic range is expanding. Documenting changes in its distribution and abundance have thus become key research priorities. For these specific purposes, surveillance of T. japonicus over large geographic areas using sentinel H. halys egg masses may not be optimally efficient, and examination of alternative sampling tactics is warranted. In 2016, sentinel H. halys egg masses were deployed as vertical transects in the canopy of female Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle (Sapindales: Simaroubaceae) in Virginia. A brief follow-up study in 2016 using yellow sticky traps deployed in the same trees yielded captures of T. japonicus, leading to a comparison of vertical transects of sentinel eggs and yellow sticky traps in 2017. Both methods yielded T. japonicus detections only in the middle and upper tree canopies, whereas other known H. halys parasitoids were detected in the lower, middle, or upper canopies. Based on this information, a method for deploying yellow sticky traps in the middle canopy of H. halys host trees was assessed in 2017, yielding T. japonicus captures. A comparison of estimated time inputs revealed that traps were more efficient than sentinel eggs in this regard. Results are discussed in relation to the utility of each sampling method to address specific questions about the range expansion and ecology of T. japonicus.