Tracking the spread of two new invasive insect pests in Michigan vegetable fields

The spotted wing Drosophila and the brown marmorated stinkbug are being monitored to determine population spread and management.

May 25, 2011 - Author: Zsofia Szendrei, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Entomology

In May 2011, the MSU Vegetable Entomology Program started monitoring in Michigan vegetable fields for two new invasive species: the spotted wing Drosophila and the brown marmorated stinkbug. Common to both these species is they originate in Asia and are capable of attacking a wide range of crops including many vegetables.

While the Drosophila started spreading from the western United States, the stinkbug is arriving to Michigan from the eastern United States. Both species were first discovered in Michigan in the past two to three years, so currently their populations are expected to be low in vegetable fields because of their relatively new status. Brown marmorated stinkbugs attack crops such as green beans, tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn. The spotted wing Drosophila prefers to attack soft fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes.

Initially, we are interested in understanding where and how many can be found of both species in Michigan vegetable crops. Once we locate them, we will also be looking at the change in their abundance in different crops over the season, the levels of damage they cause and options for management. Currently, we have six vegetable sites for monitoring in southern Michigan. Each site has a black-light and two pyramid traps for monitoring brown marmorated stinkbugs, and one spotted wing Drosophila trap per site. Traps will be checked weekly and the numbers of insects caught recorded from May to October 2011.

Our monitoring effort is supported by the Michigan Vegetable Council and the North Central IPM Center.

For photos and more information on the biology and identification of these insects, please visit the following:

Dr. Szendrei’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

Tags: invasive species, msu extension, natural resources, vegetables

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