Predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris

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Predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris also called as a stink bug because they emit strong odor when disturbed. These predatory spined soldier bugs are considered as the most effective biological control agents because they can kill and feed on caterpillars, larvae and grubs of many insect pests (see below) that are responsible for causing a serious damage to many agricultural and horticultural, and ornamental plants. Adult soldier bugs are yellowish to brown in color with about 12 mm long and 7.5 mm wide shield shaped body. As name implies, they have two spines on each humeral angle. These bugs overwinter as adults under previous crop residues. Females of spined soldier bug generally lay over 25 loose egg masses on the upper surface of leaves and twigs. These eggs hatch within a week into small nymphs, which develop through five instars/stages and then become adults. All the five nymphal instars look alike with black colored head and thorax, and reddish colored abdomen. First instar nymphs generally do not feed. However, later instar nymphs ( second, third, fourth and fifth instars) and adults have piercing and sucking type of mouthparts also called beaks. Predatory spined soldier bugs use their beaks for injecting a paralyzing toxic substance into host larvae or grubs and for feeding on the body content of the host larvae or grubs.

Facts (show all)

- Effective against the following pests
  • Banana skipper, Erionota thrax
  • Beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua
  • Cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni
  • Cabbage worm, Pieris brassicae
  • Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata
  • Corn earworm, Heliothis zea
  • Cross-striped cabbage worm, Evergestis rimosalis
  • Diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella
  • European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis
  • Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda
  • Flea beetles
  • Fruit piercing moth, Eudocima fullonia Green
  • Imported cabbage worm, Pieris rapae
  • Leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma
  • Mexican bean beetle, Epilachna varivestis
  • The Poinciana Looper, Pericyma cruegeri
  • Velvetbean caterpillar, Anticarsia gemmatalis
+ Key factors for Podisus maculiventris effectiveness
  • Predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris has a wide host range (see above).
  • Both nymphs and adults have piercing and sucking type of mouthparts called beaks.
  • These beaks are used for injecting a paralyzing toxic substance into host larvae and for feeding on the body content of the host larvae/grubs.
  • Predatory Spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris can kill and feed on caterpillars, larvae and grubs of many insect pests that caused a serious damage to many agricultural and horticultural, and ornamental plants.
+ How predatory Podisus maculiventris works in the field
  1. Predatory spined soldier bugs are supplied as eggs, which are close to hatch or as nymphs.
  2. When you release nymphs in the field or greenhouse, they will actively search for their host larvae/caterpillars/grubs by walking quickly from plant to plant.
  3. Once victim is found, both nymphs and adults use their beak to inject toxic paralyzing substance into body of their victim.
  4. This injected toxin will paralyze their host larvae/grubs within a few seconds.
  5. Then both the nymphs and adults will use their piercing and sucking type of mouthparts (beaks) to suck the body content of host larvae or grubs and eventually kill them.
+ Which stages of insect pests are killed by Podisus maculiventris?
  • Larvae also called as caterpillars of lepidopterous (butterflies and moths) insect pests.
  • Larvae also called as grubs of coleopterous (beetles) insect pests.
+ How many Podisus maculiventrisshould be released?
  • When there is a low infestation of target insect pests, release 1-2 nymphs per infested plant.
  • When there is a heavy infestation of target insect pests, release 10-15 nymphs per infested plant.
+ When and how Podisus maculiventris should be released for the effective control of insect pests?
  • Predatory spined soldier bugs are supplied as eggs, which are close to hatch or shipped as nymphs.
  • After receiving package, check if the eggs are hatched or not.
  • If eggs are not yet hatched, keep them in a moderately humid and shaded place at 68-87°F (20-30.5°C) until hatching begins.
  • After hatching begins do not store them longer than 4 hours and never store them at cold temperatures.
  • Check eggs everyday for their hatching.
  • When hatching begins, you will notice movement of first instar nymphs in the containers.
  • Release these hatched nymphs immediately by sprinkling them evenly on the insect pest infested crop.
  • If you receive already hatched nymphs, release them immediately in the foliage of insect pest infested crops.
+ Why you need them
  • they can reduce the crop damage by feeding on the larvae and grubs crop pests
  • they can munch on the larval stages of their host insects
  • they are able to actively search for their host insects and feed on them
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle in the field after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to apply in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not damage plants
  • do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with Predatory spined soldier bugs
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Aldrich, J.R. and Cantelo, W.W. 2001. Suppression of Colorado potato beetle infestation by pheromone-mediated augmentation of the predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris(Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Agricultural and Forest Entomology 1: 209–217.
  2. Harvey, J.A., Weber, D., De Clercq, P. and Gols, R. 2013. A bodyguard or a tastier meal? Dying caterpillar indirectly protects parasitoid cocoons by offering alternate prey to a generalist predator. Ntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 149: 219-228.
  3. Montemayor, C.O. and Cave, R.D. 2012. Evaluation of the Predation Capacity of Podisus maculiventris(Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on Microtheca ochroloma (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Field Cages. Journal of Economic Entomology 105: 1719-1725.
  4. Reddy, G.V.P. and Kikuchi, R. 2011. Laboratory host range assessment of a predatory pentatomid, Podisus maculiventris (hemiptera: pentatomidae) for field release on Guam. Florida Entomologist 94: 853-858.
  5. YU, S. J. 1998. Selectivity of insecticides to the spined soldier bug (Heteroptera: Pentatornidae) and its lepidopterous prey. Journal of Economic Entomology 81: 119-122.

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Predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris

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