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Seen Any Bagrada Bugs Lately? (June 25, 2014)
One of the key questions we’ve had concerning bagrada bugs since it first arrived in the desert 5 years ago is where does the small stinkbug spend it’s summers? We obviously know where they are from September until late May; in cole crops and brassica seed crops. However, we have never been quite sure where they go after the last seed crop is harvested. Fortunately, we’ve learned much about the seasonal ecology of bagrada in the past few years, and this past week I received a number of reports from PCAs of bagrada bug adults being found in sweep net samples in cotton from the Gila and Yuma Valleys. These recent bagrada sightings are reminiscent of reports during the summer of 2010 when finding bagrada adults in cotton was very common
throughout the summer. These recent reports are also not surprising considering that unpublished research conducted at the University of California, Riverside by Drs. Tom Perring and Darcy Reed has shown that adult bagrada bugs are capable of using non-brassicaceous plants (Sudan grass, Bermuda grass, corn, and cotton) to survive for extended periods in the absence of brassicaceous host plants (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower). They found that bagrada adults can survive for longer than 90 days on cotton, 60 days on Bermuda grass, and 30 days on corn and Sudan grass. Furthermore, Sudan grass and Bermuda grass were shown to support multiple generations of bagrada in greenhouse studies, although generation times of the insect were much longer than on broccoli. Based on their research and anecdotal observations by myself and others in Yuma, I’ve concluded that these common summer crops should be considered key sources of bagrada bug infestations for fall cole crop plantings. So you might want to keep this information in mind and pay close attention as you’re sampling cotton and other crops this summer. If by chance you find bagrada on any of these crops, please let me know. Learning more about how this pest bridges the brassica-free, summer months should lead to a better understanding of how to effectively manage it in the future. For a comprehensive review of the biology, ecology and management of the Bagrada bug please view this paper Bagrada hilaris (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), An Invasive Stink Bug Attacking Cole Crops in the Southwestern United States. .
Bagrada Bug Adult (picture: J.Palumbo)
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For questions or comments on any of the topics please contact Marco Pena at the Yuma Agricultural Center.
College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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