Early-season soybean, Glycine max L. Merrill, was evaluated in Arkansas soybean fields as a trap crop for a complex of stink bug species that included Nezara viridula L., Acrosternum hilare (Say), and Euschistus servus (Say). Early-season soybean production systems (ESPSs) are composed of indeterminate soybean cultivars planted in April. In the first year of a 2-yr study, field-scale trap crops (≈0.5–1.0 ha) of maturity group (MG) III and IV soybean were planted adjacent to production fields of MG V soybean. Stink bugs were attracted first to the ESPS trap crops and were twice treated with insecticide, yet damaging populations developed later in the MG V soybean adjacent to the trap crops. General sampling and observations of low stink bug densities in commercial fields of soybean and corn across the study area suggested that stink bugs were widely distributed across the agricultural landscape. These observations and the subsequent discovery of additional ESPS fields outside the study area suggested that developing populations in the adjacent MG V soybean probably did not originate from the trap crops. However the source of the populations colonizing MG V soybean could not be determined, and we concluded that the scale of future experiments should be increased to better control stink bugs dispersing from other ESPSs outside the study area. In the second year of the study, the experiment was expanded in size to a farm- or community-scale project where entire fields of ESPSs (8–32 ha) were used as trap crops. Insecticide was applied to the trap-crop fields and other fields of ESPSs within a 0.8-km radius of targeted response fields, yet again there was no apparent effect on subsequent populations of stink bugs in the MG V response fields. With the recent expansion of ESPSs in Arkansas, it may be difficult to use ESPSs as a trap crop to lower stink bug populations across large enough areas to suppress populations in late-season soybean. Also, multiple soybean cultivars are generally planted across a 2- or 3-mo period in Arkansas, which results in staggered soybean development across the landscape and extends the time period that soybean is attractive to colonizing stink bugs. Trap crops of ESPSs are only attractive for oviposition for up to 4–5 wk and cannot protect full-season soybean production systems (FSSPSs) for such an extended time period. This shift in production systems may limit the use of ESPS trap crops for management of stink bugs unless highly coordinated efforts are made to synchronize soybean maturity and control stink bugs in ESPSs across large geographic areas.
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