The rice stink bug, Oebalus pugnax (F.), is the most important pest of headed rice, Oryza sativa L., in the United States. Numerous studies have attempted to quantify the impact of O. pugnax feeding on rice yield and grain quality, but these studies have often produced conflicting results. Across mid-south U.S. rice, thresholds based on sweep net sampling are used to determine the need for insecticide applications, but few studies have related sweep net captures to rice quality parameters. Field trials were conducted in Louisiana in 2015 and 2016 that used different rates of insecticides to establish rice plots with mean O. pugnax infestations ranging from 0.8 to 24.6 insects per 10 sweeps. Insecticide applications improved panicle weight and head yields as well as decreased percentage peck. A series of linear regressions examined relationships between O. pugnax captures and rice yield and quality parameters, including panicle weight, head yield (% whole kernels), and peck (discolored grains). Mean O. pugnax sweep net captures across all sampling dates in both years were significantly and negatively correlated to panicle weight and head yield and positively correlated to percentage peck. Peck was negatively correlated with head yield. Results from sampling at different maturity stages indicate sweep net captures at grain fill and soft dough stages had the greatest influence on rice yield and quality parameters, respectively. Further research into impacts of milling quality reductions on farm revenue and the influence of cumulative infestations over grain development is needed to improve economic thresholds for O. pugnax in rice.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3