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Assessing Feeding Damage from Two Leaffooted Bugs, <i>Leptoglossus clypealis</i> Heidemann and <i>Leptoglossus zonatus</i> (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Coreidae), on Four Almond Varieties

Joyce, Andrea L., Barman, Apurba K., Doll, David, Higbee, Bradley S.
Insects 2019 v.10 no.10
Leptoglossus clypealis, Leptoglossus zonatus, almond hulls, almonds, branches, cages, imagos, integrated pest management, necrosis, pests, phytophagous insects, risk reduction, seeds, California
Leaffooted bugs (Leptoglossus spp; Hemiptera: Coreidae) are phytophagous insects native to the Western Hemisphere. In California, Leptoglossus clypealis and Leptoglossus zonatus are occasional pests on almonds. Early season feeding by L. clypealis and L. zonatus leads to almond drop, while late season feeding results in strikes on kernels, kernel necrosis, and shriveled kernels. A field cage study was conducted to assess feeding damage associated with L. clypealis and L. zonatus on four almond varieties, Nonpareil, Fritz, Monterey, and Carmel. The objectives were to determine whether leaffooted bugs caused significant almond drop, to pinpoint when the almond was vulnerable, and to determine the final damage at harvest. Branches with ~20 almonds were caged and used to compare almond drop and final damage in four treatments: (1) control branches, (2) mechanically punctured almonds, (3) adult Leptoglossus clypealis, and (4) adult Leptoglossus zonatus. Replicates were set up for eight weeks during two seasons. Early season feeding resulted in higher almond drop than late season, and L. zonatus resulted in greater drop than L. clypealis. The almond hull width of the four varieties in the study did not influence susceptibility to feeding damage. The final damage assessment at harvest found significant levels of kernel strikes, kernel necrosis, and shriveled almonds in bug feeding cages, with higher levels attributed to L. zonatus than L. clypealis. Further research is warranted to develop an Integrated Pest Management program with reduced risk controls for L. zonatus.