Laboratory assessment of host selection of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) on two selected cowpea varieties.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an important invasive stink bug species which is native to Asia and spread to America causing serious losses to agricultural crops. Laboratory experiments were conducted to assess the preference of BMSB for three phenological growth stages (leaf, flower and pod) of two cowpea cultivars (Early Scarlet and Mississippi Silver). These two cowpea cultivars were selected based on a previous multiple choice and no choice experiments in which they were highly preferred by the BMSB compared to the other host plants which included soybean, corn, sunflower and princess tree leaves. To assess host plant selection by the BMSB, we used a four-arm olfactometer to determine plant volatile involvement in the observed preferences and in the decision making of the insects. The Noldus Observer XT video system was used to record the insect's activities based on visual cues. Results from these experiments show that BMSBs were attracted to both the vegetative and reproductive structures of Mississippi Silver, an indication that this cowpea variety could be used as a trap crop, although it should be verified through field experiment.