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Lygus rugulipennis on chrysanthemum: Supplemental prey effects and an evaluation of trap plants


The European tarnished plant bug, Lygus rugulipennis Poppius, is considered a major pest in chrysanthemum nurseries in The Netherlands. Adults puncture plant's apical meristem, after which the growing point splits and growth is inhibited. Flower buds and flowers can also be severely damaged. Both types of damage result in economic losses for growers. Despite the importance of this pest for chrysanthemum nurseries, there is only very limited information about L. rugulipennis development on chrysanthemum plants, Chrysanthemum × morifolium Ramat., and whether L. rugulipennis can be controlled using trap plants is not known. We investigated whether: (1) L. rugulipennis could develop from egg to adult on the vegetative and flowering stages of chrysanthemum; (2) their performance was enhanced when a supplemental prey source (Ephestia kuehniella Zeller eggs) or another common pest (the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae Sulzer) was present; and (3) there were alternative plant species more attractive than chrysanthemum for use as trap plants for local pest control or monitoring of L. rugulipennis. L. rugulipennis developed on both vegetative and flowering chrysanthemum stages without any additional food source. Nonetheless, when chrysanthemum was supplemented with E. kuehniella eggs, L. rugulipennis achieved the best performance in terms of the number of adults developed and faster developmental time. Interestingly, L. rugulipennis developed faster on chrysanthemum infested with the aphid M. persicae compared to non-infested plants, however, there was no difference in the number of adults developed. In a trap plant experiment with 16 plant species in the vegetative stage, we found that white mustard, Sinapis alba L., was significantly more attractive than chrysanthemum to both adult and nymph L. rugulipennis. Further research is needed to evaluate the potential of S. alba as a trap plant for monitoring L. rugulipennis and how the presence of prey in the crop influences L. rugulipennis.