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Applied Research

Matthew VanWeelden
Extension Agent III
UF/IFAS Extension Palm Beach County


Florida’s rice stink bug complex is comprised of three species; the native rice stink bug, Oebalus pugnax, and two invasive stink bugs, O. ypsilongriseus and O. insularis. Surveys in Florida rice in 2008 and 2009 indicated that the two invasive species remain in low abundance relative to the native rice stink bug; however Florida’s rice industry has increased substantially over the past decade, warranting additional surveys to detect whether or not changes in stink bug relative abundance have occurred. Surveys were conducted in 2017 and 2018 to determine if increases in the relative abundance of invasive Oebalus spp. have occurred, and to determine population levels in non-crop hosts adjacent to rice fields. In both 2017 and 2018, sweep net sampling for Oebalus spp. occurred at eight locations over three time periods each, with a location consisting of a commercial rice field and adjacent transect of non-crop hosts. Three, 50 sweep samples were collected from rice and non-crop hosts at each location, bagged, and returned to the lab for identification. Across both years, O. insularis relative abundance was the highest at 53.3%, followed by O. pugnax (42.2%) and O. ypsilongriseus (4.5%). Numbers of O. pugnax and O. insularis nymphs and adults were significantly greater in rice compared to non-crop host plants. Populations of O. pugnax peaked in mid-summer, while O. ypsilongriseus and O. insularis peaked later in the summer. Oebalus spp. were observed feeding on 11 species of graminacious non-crop hosts, with fall panicum (Panicum dichotomiflorum) exhibiting the greatest abundance in non-crop transects. Results from this study indicate that the invasive O. insularis has exceeded the native O. pugnax in relative abundance for the first time Florida’s history. Additional studies are needed to determine differences in feeding behaviors between the native and invasive species, to provide Florida rice growers with accurate economic thresholds.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: M. T. VanWeelden, R. Cherry
  1. VanWeelden, M. Extension Agent II, UF/IFAS Extension, Palm Beach County, Florida, 33430
  2. Cherry, R. Professor, UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center,