Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Attraction of brown marmorated stink bugs, Halyomorpha halys, to blooming sunflower semiochemicals.

Abstract

The polyphagous invasive brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, reportedly discriminates among phenological stages of host plants. To determine whether olfaction is involved in host plant stage discrimination, we selected (dwarf) sunflower, Helianthus annuus, as a model host plant species. When adult females of a still-air laboratory experiment were offered a choice of four potted sunflowers at distinct phenological stages (vegetative, pre-bloom, bloom, seeding), most females settled onto blooming plants but oviposited evenly on plants of all four stages. In moving-air two-choice olfactometer experiments, we then tested each plant stage versus filtered air and versus one another, for attraction of H. halys females. Blooming sunflowers performed best overall, but no one plant stage was most attractive in all experiments. Capturing and analyzing (by GC-MS) the headspace odorants of each plant stage revealed a marked increase of odorant abundance (e.g., monoterpenes) as plants transitioned from pre-bloom to bloom. Analyzing the headspace odorant blend of blooming sunflower by gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) revealed 13 odorants that consistently elicited responses from female H. halys antennae. An 11-component synthetic blend of these odorants attracted H. halys females in laboratory olfactometer experiments. Furthermore, in field settings, the synthetic blend enhanced the attractiveness of synthetic H. halys pheromone as a trap lure, particularly in spring (April to mid-June). A simpler yet fully effective sunflower semiochemical blend could be developed and coupled with synthetic H. halys aggregation pheromones to improve monitoring efforts or could improve the efficacy of modified attract-and-kill control tactics for H. halys.