Repellent activity of essential oils on adults of Halyomorpha halys (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in different physiological-behavioural phases.
The brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys is an invasive agricultural pest in North America and Europe, and also a dwelling nuisance in autumn, due to the overwintering adults aggregating inside buildings. The repellent potential of ginger, clove, vetiver and turmeric essential oils (EOs) was tested on H. halys adults of three different physiological-behavioural phases: exiting overwintering (EXOV), active during summer (SUMM) and entering overwintering (ENOV). In a two-choice apparatus, fresh food was used as an attractant in both sides, together with three males when testing ENOV individuals. A filter paper with different concentrations of the EOs was the treatment side, and a filter paper with ethanol acted as control. The position of the individually tested bugs was recorded after 1, 6 and 24 hr. All tested EOs were repellent at concentrations higher than 3%, independent of sex or length of exposure. Turmeric and clove were the most repellent EOs, whereas ginger and vetiver showed on average a medium-to-low repellency. Significant differences emerged among the physiological-behavioural phases, with SUMM individuals showing a greater repellency to many of the tested concentrations, and EXOV individuals being overall the least susceptible to these substances. The response to vetiver oil was ambiguous, as at 25%, it elicited both a strong repellency in SUMM and a strong attraction in EXOV. Turmeric and clove EOs are promising candidates in integrated pest management strategies to reduce attacks by H. halys to susceptible crops especially during summer, as well as to prevent the entrance of overwintering bugs in buildings in autumn.