Nezara viridula L. (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is a serious pest of macadamia nuts, Macadamia integrifolia, in Hawaii. Using ruthenium red dye to stain stink bug feeding probes, feeding activity was determined for nuts of various maturity levels harvested from the tree and off the ground throughout the growing season in five commercial cultivars. Damage occurred in the tree and on the ground during all nut growth stages. Damage on the ground was often higher than in the tree. Cultivar 246 was more susceptible to attack than cultivars 333 and 800. It was previously thought that cultivar susceptibility was related to husk and shell thickness, but cultivar 246 showed higher damage than other cultivars even during early nut development when the nuts are small and before the shell has formed. This suggests that shell and husk thickness may play a secondary role in susceptibility to feeding by N. viridula. Monitoring N. viridula feeding activity during early nut development may help alert growers to potential problems later in the season, but early-season probing activity in immature nuts was not a good predictor of damage levels in mature nuts later in the season in our study.
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