Now that the 2018 Florida peach season has drawn to a close, I’ve sat down and analyzed the stink bug trap capture from the past year. Overall, when compared to the 2017 stink bug season, total trap captures are down significantly. This has translated into lower incidence of cat-facing injury.
Sites in Lake County saw a 140% and 69% reduction in stink bug pressure, while sites in St. Lucie County saw reductions of 163% and 209%. Our Polk County site actually saw a slight increase of 27% from 2017 to 2018, however this location continued to have the lowest stink bug population, with a season long average of less than 1 stink bug per trap. It is important to note that these results may be highly site specific and may not match trends from other orchards in the state.
When these numbers are looked at over the course of the season a few interesting trends appear. In both St. Lucie County sites the total number of stink bugs collected at the beginning of the 2018 season was significantly lower than the population at the beginning of the 2017 season. While a number of factors may influence the stink bug populations we suspect that the cooler temperatures and increased grower awareness during 2018 played a roll in this trend. It is also apparent from the charts below that stink bug populations peak between March and April, with the build up beginning in February. Early control, from shuck split on, is crucial for stink bug management. The SE Peach Spray Guide is an excellent resource for selecting the proper management options for stink bugs.
Future Plans: The trap data from the past two seasons will be compared with data on fruit injury from trapped orchards. This will allows us to develop treatment thresholds for stink bugs in Florida and estimate the total economic impact of this pest group on the Florida peach industry.