The current study evaluated whether flowering phenology and yield attributes of different strawberry cultivars affect the abundance and feeding impact of tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois), as well as behavioral decisions made by feeding nymphs and ovipositing adults. The distribution of emerged nymphs in cage experiments involving nine different cultivars of June-bearing strawberry cultivars suggests that females lay more eggs on plants with numerous flower receptacles, while cultivar per se did not influence their oviposition behavior. A large number of nymphs emerged from receptacles of strawberry plants, while the distribution of emerged nymphs among receptacles, petioles, leaves, and stems varied for different cultivars. These results suggest that the relative intensity of damage caused by ovipositing females may vary for different cultivars. Foraging nymphs did not exhibit a preference for any strawberry cultivar per se, although the abundance of nymphs increased with the weight of receptacles, especially for late instars. Evaluating the density and feeding impact of L. lineolaris for different cultivars under field conditions revealed that some host plant attributes affect the abundance of plant bugs, such as early flowering season and high productivity. Decreasing number of emerged nymphs per flower per plant with increasing density of receptacles per plant suggests that females lay relatively more eggs per receptacle on plants with few receptacles; this pattern of oviposition may explain, in part, why patches with low density of plants typically have high incidence of damage. Planting a high yielding early season cultivar such as ‘Cavendish’ may contribute to reduce the incidence of damage by L. lineolaris.
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Vol. 96 • No. 2