a1 Department of Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Gilmore Hall, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
a2 U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS, P.O. Box 4459, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula, Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is a pest of macadamia nuts, causing pitting to kernels by feeding. In spite of its pest status, many aspects of the ecology of this insect in macadamia orchards are poorly understood. This study analyzes long-term N. viridula damage to macadamia nuts and investigates the extent to which damage to nuts occurs in the tree canopy, prior to nut-drop. We show that there are distinct seasonal peaks in damage detected after harvest and that, over six years of data collection, mean damage levels were fairly low, albeit with spikes in damage levels recorded. Sampling nuts at peak harvest periods from different strata in the trees and from the ground showed that incidence of damaged nuts within the canopy was typically half as high as on the fallen nuts. Damage to fallen nuts may have occurred prior to nut-drop, and continued to accumulate after nut-drop. These results show that management of N. viridula within macadamia canopies, as opposed to only on fallen nuts, is important. A sampling procedure and predictive model for estimating late-season damage based on early-season damage samples is provided. The model uses January and March damage measurements (based on samples with set level of accuracy), mean temperature and month of the year for which damage is predicted. Early-season damage of 6–10% predicts late-season damage levels that should justify N. viridula suppression based on the nominal threshold (13% damage) used by kernel processors to reject nuts based on damage.
(Accepted February 13 2007)