Brown marmorated stink bug overwintering aggregations are not regulated through vibrational signals during autumn dispersal.
The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), is regarded as one of the world's most pernicious invasive pest species, as it feeds on a wide range of economically important crops. During the autumn dispersal period, H. halys ultimately moves to potential overwintering sites, such as human-made structures or trees where it will alight and seek out a final overwintering location, often aggregating with other adults. The cues used during this process are unknown, but may involve vibrational signals. We evaluated whether vibrational signals regulate cluster aggregation in H. halys in overwintering site selection. We collected acoustic data for six weeks during the autumn dispersal period and used it to quantify movement and detect vibrational communication of individuals colonizing overwintering shelters. Both movement and vibrational signal production increased after the second week, reaching their maxima in week four, before decaying again. We found that only males produced vibrations in this context, yet there was no correlation between movement and vibrational signals, which was confirmed through playback experiments. The cues regulating the formation of aggregations remain largely unknown, but vibrations may indicate group size.