Arthropod Pests Management

Arthropod pests can cause severe damage in agriculture in fields and protected crops. In the last decades, several invasive alien species are gaining importance in agriculture, being the primary pest of many crops causing consistent damage and yield reduction. , and often lacking control practices with insecticide applications or mediated by natural enemies. For instance, the diffusion of insect species like the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, or the Nearctic leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus the primary vector of the phytoplasma associated with Flavescence dorée are currently the main problems in fruit crop production and viticulture (Chuche and Thiéry, 2014; Leskey and Nielsen, 2018). In greenhouse conditions, pests like aphids, whiteflies, and mites can cause severe damage in vegetable and ornamentals protected crops (Van Lenteren et al., 2020).

The brown marmorated stink bug

The brown marmorated stink bug is a major pest of fruit crops pest, native to Asia and widespread in the USA and several European countries (Leskey and Nielsen, 2018). Stink bug infestations were associated with an increase in broad-spectrum insecticide, but this is not an always-successful strategy, and there is a need to develop alternatives based on an integrated pest management approach (e.g., Lee et al., 2013; Leskey and Nielsen, 2018).


The research activity of the group of Agricultural Entomology at DAFNAE – University of Padua on H. halys investigates biological parameters of the insects and its damage on different crops, but also other aspects in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) framework such as the study of chemical compounds for pest control in the field and their impact on beneficials, the use of alternatives to pesticides, and the investigation of natural enemies of H. halys such as in the classical biological control with the use of egg parasitoids.


Biological parameters of the brown marmorated stink bug were investigated in particular referring to its tolerance to extreme high and low temperatures. These investigations showed that the resistance to these extreme environments could be high – but depends on the different phases of the life cycle of the insect– and adding information on thermal thresholds that could be used in insect distribution and spatial suitability models (Scaccini et al., 2019; 2020b).


Furthermore, monitoring protocols are being used in the growing season across different agricultural areas in Veneto region, with weekly updates deriving from traps available at Damage on selected fruit crops by H. halys was evaluated and is under evaluation in studies with caged insects on plants with fruiting structures, and first results confirmed its capability to make high damage but also a correlation between insect infestation and fungal infections in fruits, thus further decreasing the marketability of the products (e.g., Moore et al., 2019; Stahl et al., 2020). Studies on the complex of H. halys natural enemies in Veneto region revealed an adventive introduction of the Scelionid wasp Trissolcus mitsukurii since at least 2016, representing the first record of this species for Europe (Scaccini et al., 2020a).


This species gained its importance in the biological control of brown marmorated stink bug, thus showing considerable parasitism rates on its host in the field condition of the Region (Scaccini et al., 2020a). Besides, T. mitsukurii showed higher parasitism rates on H. halys eggs than native species, and semi-natural habitats constituted by large patches of unmanaged vegetation promote its biological control against the main host (Mele et al., 2022). Furthermore, the research investigated the hyperparsitoid  Acroclisoides sinicus and in particular its impact on the biological control of H. halys (Mele et al., 2021). Another Asian parasitoid was found in Italy since 2018, the samurai wasp Trissolcus japonicus (Sabbatini Peverieri et al., 2018; Zapponi et al., 2021). Concerning the classical biological control, field introductions of T. japonicus started in Veneto and in other regions in Italy since 2020, thus accelerating the spread of H. halys egg parasitoids as possible useful agent for its control. This project is still evaluating the performances of the parasitoids in field, both in areas of release and in those where the parasitoid was not released.

Further research is developed on grapevine pests, in particular on the invasive leafhopper Erasmoneura vulnerata.


This leafhopper is native of Northern and Central and was recorded for the first time in Italy in 2004. Since then it has spread over Northern Italy and other European countries. Semi-field and field experiments on the biology of E. vulnerata investigate the life-cicle of this pest and suggest that it is able to complete 3 generations per year (Duso et al., 2019; Duso et al., 2020). Vineyard colonization by overwintered adults showed a clear edge effect, suggesting the influence of overwintering sites (e.g., rural buildings and hedgerows) in vineyard margins.


The impact of natural enemies on pest populations appeared to be limited and mostly related to egg parasitoids. Natural insecticides typically used in organic vineyards have minimal efficacy on this leafhopper (Duso et al., 2020). Field trials carried out in Veneto region, identified the most effective insecticides among synthetic naturally-derived ones, providing key information for the management of this pest in both in organic and conventional vineyards (Duso et al., 2021).


Additional research investigated the potential of augmentative biological control against this invasive leafhopper (Prazaru et al.,2021). Research activity on grapevine pest is also focused on other important pest of grapevine. Recent research shed light on the plant water stress effect on grapevine leafhopper showing the positive effect of moderate water stress in controlling this pest (Fornasiero et al., 2022).


A field experiment investigated the effect of microbial and botanical insecticides on grape berry moths, secondary pest and beneficials in grapevine, providing relevant information for the development of IPM strategies in the organic and conventional vineyards (Duso et al., 2022). Research on habitat management practices based on groundcover management showed that this could constitute a useful tool to enhance beneficial arthropod abundance in vineyards (Zanettin et al., 2021).

Another field of research investigates the effect of agricultural practices on the predatory mites community in perennial crops. In particular, intense research activity has been developed to study the side-effect pf pesticides on predatory mites identifying practices that promote ecological and physiological selectivity (Duso et al., 2020; Pozzebon et al., 2014). The conservation of predatory mites in perennial cropping systems can be also promoted by enhancing the availability of food sources alternative to the prey, such as pollen (Malagnini et al., 2022).


Chuche J., Thiéry D., 2014. Biology and ecology of the Flavescence dorée vector Scaphoideus titanus: a review. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 34: 381-403.

Duso C., Moret R., Manera A., Berto D., Fornasiero D., Marchegiani G., Pozzebon A., 2019. Investigations on the grape leafhopper Erasmoneura vulnerata in North-eastern Italy. Insects 10: 44.

Duso C., Pozzebon A., Lorenzon M., Fornasiero D., Tirello P., Simoni S., Bagnoli B., 2022. The impact of microbial and botanical insecticides on grape berry moths and their effects on secondary pests and beneficials. Agronomy 12: 217.

Duso C., Van Leeuwen T., Pozzebon A., 2020. Improving the compatibility of pesticides and predatory mites: recent findings on physiological and ecological selectivity. Curr. Opin. Insect Sci. 39: 63-68.

Duso C., Zanettin G., Gherardo P., Pasqualotto G., Raniero D., Rossetto F., Tirello P., Pozzebon A., 2020. Colonization patterns, phenology and seasonal abundance of the Nearctic leafhopper Erasmoneura vulnerata (Fitch), a new pest in European vineyards. Insects 11: 731.

Fornasiero D., Pavan F., Pozzebon A., Duso C., 2022. Influence of grapevine water stress on egg laying, egg hatching and nymphal survival of the green leafhopper Empoasca vitis. Entomol. Gen. 42: 75-85.

Lee D.-H., Short B.D., Joseph S.V., Bergh J.C., Leskey T.C., 2013. Review of the biology, ecology, and management of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Environ. Entomol. 42: 627-641.

Leskey T.C., Nielsen A.L., 2018. Impact of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug in North America and Europe: History, biology, ecology, and management. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 63: 599-618.

Malagnini V., Pozzebon A., Facchin P., Paganelli A., Duso C., 2022. Airborne pollen can affect the abundance of predatory mites in vineyards: implications for conservation biological control strategies. Pest Manag. Sci. 78: 1963-1975.

Mele A., Scaccini D., Zanolli P., Pozzebon A., 2022. Semi-natural habitats promote biological control of Halyomorpha halys (Stål) by the egg parasitoid Trissolcus mitsukurii (Ashmead). Biol. Control 166: 104833,

Moore L., Tirello P., Scaccini D., Toews M.D., Duso C., Pozzebon A., 2019. Characterizing damage potential of the brown marmorated stink bug in cherry orchards in Italy. Entomol. Gen. 39: 271-283.

Pozzebon A., Ahmad S., Tirello P., Lorenzon M., Duso C., 2014. Does pollen availability mitigate the impact of pesticides on generalist predatory mites? BioControl 59: 585-596.

Prazaru S.C., Zanettin G., Pozzebon A., Tirello P., Toffoletto F., Scaccini D., Duso C., 2021. Evaluating the impact of two generalist predators on the leafhopper Erasmoneura vulnerata population density. Insects 12: 321.

Sabbatini Peverieri G., Talamas E., Bon M.C., Marianelli L., Bernardinelli I., Malossini G., Benvenuto L., Roversi P.F., Hoelmer K., 2018. Two Asian egg parasitoids of Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera, Pentatomidae) emerge in northern Italy: Trissolcus mitsukurii (Ashmead) and Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera, Scelionidae). J. Hymenopt. Res. 67: 37-53.

Scaccini D., Duso C., Pozzebon A., 2019. Lethal effects of high temperatures on brown marmorated stink bug adults before and after overwintering. Insects 10: 355,

Scaccini D., Falagiarda M., Tortorici F., Martinez-Sañudo I., Tirello P., Reyes-Domínguez Y., Gallmetzer A., Tavella L., Zandigiacomo P., Duso C., Pozzebon A., 2020a. An insight into the role of Trissolcus mitsukurii as biological control agent of Halyomorpha halys in Northeastern Italy. Insects 11: 306,

Scaccini D., Vanishvili L., Tirello P., Walton V.M., Duso C., Pozzebon A., 2020b. Lethal and sub-lethal effects of low-temperature exposures on Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) adults before and after overwintering. Sci. Rep. 10: 15231.

Stahl J.M., Scaccini D., Pozzebon A., Daane K.M., 2020. Comparing the feeding damage of the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug to a native stink bug and leaffooted bug on California Pistachios. Insects 11: 688.

Tirello P., Marchesini E., Gherardo P., Raniero D., Rossetto F., Pozzebon A., Duso C., 2021. The control of the American leafhopper Erasmoneura vulnerata (Fitch) in European vineyards: Impact of synthetic and natural insecticides. Insects 12: 85.

Van Lenteren J.C., Alomar O., Ravensberg W.J., Urbaneja A., 2020. Biological control agents for control of pests in greenhouses. In: Integrated pest and disease management in greenhouse crops (pp. 409-439). Springer, Cham.

Zanettin G., Bullo A., Pozzebon A., Burgio G., Duso C., 2021. Influence of vineyard inter-row groundcover vegetation management on arthropod assemblages in the vineyards of North-Eastern Italy. Insects 12: 349.

Zapponi L., Tortorici F., Anfora G., Bardella S., Bariselli M., Benvenuto L., Bernardinelli I., Butturini A., Caruso S., Colla R., Costi E., Culatti P., Di Bella E., Falagiarda M., Giovannini L., Haye T., Maistrello L., Malossini G., Marazzi C., Marianelli L., Mele A., Michelon L., Moraglio S.T., Pozzebon A., Preti M., Salvetti M., Scaccini D., Schmidt S., Szalatnay D., Roversi P.F., Tavella L., Tommasini M.G., Vaccari G., Zandigiacomo P., Sabbatini Peverieri G., 2021. Assessing the distribution of exotic egg parasitoids of Halyomorpha halys in Europe with a large-scale monitoring program. Insects 12: 316.