Lygus hesperus Knight (Hemiptera: Miridae) is a key agricultural pest in the western United States. In a recent study, proteins from Pantoea ananatis and Serratia marcescens (Enterobacteriales: Enterobacteriaceae) were identified in diet that was stylet probed and fed on by L. hesperus adults. P. ananatis and S. marcescens are ubiquitous bacteria that infect a wide range of crops. The objective of our study was to determine whether L. hesperus transfer P. ananatis and S. marcescens to food substrates during stylet-probing activities. Sucrose (5%) was spread under parafilm and exposed to adult L. hesperus for 24 h. Diet similarly prepared but not exposed to insects was used for controls. MacConkey agar was inoculated with stylet-probed or control diets and incubated at 25°C. After 24 h, bacterial colonies were observed on agar that was inoculated with stylet-probed diet, but were not observed on agar inoculated with control diet. Isolated bacterial colonies were putatively identified as either Pantoea spp. or S. marcescens using the API 20e identification kit. These results indicate that L. hesperus is capable of vectoring P. ananatis and S. marcescens.
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