Andalusia's Alert and Phytosanitary Information Network (RAIF) has issued a warning stating that "small outbreaks of green stink bug (Nezara viridula) are beginning to be detected in most of the protected horticultural pepper plots of the province of Almeria, especially in the municipalities that planted their peppers earlier and where fruit setting is starting. It has become one of the main pests in pepper greenhouses, especially in the interior areas of the province, due to the reduction of biological control treatments."
"This phytophagous bedbug is a very polyphagous species that feeds on the vegetable juices of all kinds of horticultural plants. The diet of its adults and nymphs causes direct damage to the plants. Their bites desiccate seedlings and cause spots and deformations to the fruits, which lose their commercial value and serve as an input for microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) that cause rot. The number of affected fruits in the plants where the nymphal stages are concentrated is usually high and can even affect all fruits. Thus, it can become a very destructive pest if there are high populations distributed throughout the greenhouse, causing enormous crop losses."
"Since these bed bugs have a considerable size, the recommended prevention and/or cultural measures include isolating the greenhouses crops with anti-insect meshes, placing double doors at the entrances of the greenhouses, and checking that the plastic isn't broken. These phytophagous bedbugs are attracted by several plants, such as caper (Capparis spinosa), so producers can use them as sentinel plants or trap plants. These plants can be placed around the greenhouses or in certain places between the crops, where they are periodically controlled to catch the pest as soon as it's detected. The systemic hand cleaning of the plants with the presence of larvae and eliminating the adventitious plants (when appropriate so as to avoid the bedbugs from migration to the crop) in which the insect develops, are common and effective practices."
In addition to these measures, producers must also consider other more general measures such as:
- Using healthy plant material from authorized nurseries or seedbeds.
- Carrying out the new plantations later than usual.
- Favoring the proliferation of auxiliary insect populations by rationalizing the use of phytosanitary products.
- Perform crop rotations.
"This pest can be controlled via biological control. Trissolcus basalis is an egg parasitoid capable of exercising important control and Trichopoda pennipes parasites adults causing them to die."
"Effective chemical control against green stink bug has serious side effects for auxiliary fauna," RAIF stated.