Damage caused by southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.), to macadamia nuts, Macadamia integrifolia Maiden & Betche, is normally determined after nuts are harvested and processed, which may be many months after damage occurred in the field. We developed a method using ruthenium red dye to stain stink bug feeding probes and indirectly assess feeding activity in macadamia nuts. By using the staining method, feeding probes were easily detected on the husk, shell, and kernel. Husk probing was highly correlated (0.80–0.90) with feeding and damage to the kernel. Failure rate to detect kernel damage from stained husk probes was generally <6%. The staining method was equally effective for immature and mature nuts; therefore, N. viridula feeding activity can be monitored throughout the season to evaluate pest management tactics and forecast outbreak populations.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3