What’s eating green vegetable bugs?
Green vegetable bugs (GVB) are a pest of kiwifruit and other crops in New Zealand. Because of their similar size and polyphagous diet, they are also a reasonable proxy for the serious agricultural pest, brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB): studying GVB may give us some insights into BMSB prior to its arrival in New Zealand. Using security cameras to monitor GVB eggs, nymphs and adults, we aimed to identify species preying on GVB in a variety of habitats (kiwifruit orchards, vegetable crop field margins and home gardens in Auckland and Te Puke). GVB nymphs and adults were individually tethered using cotton thread glued to their dorsal surfaces, while egg batches were placed in the field on the substrate on which they were laid. We obtained 840 hours of video footage and recorded only 10 predation events. Predators included birds, ants, jumping spiders and harvestmen. When given no choice in the laboratory, we also found praying mantis, hunting and crab spiders would feed on GVB nymphs. Nothing was found to feed on GVB eggs. Although only a few taxa were identified feeding on GVB, most are common in modi ed habitats in New Zealand, and therefore may contribute to the suppression of GVB (and potentially BMSB) populations.