Samurai Wasps May Put An End To Invasive Stink Bug damages In Orchards
Some of you may have experienced a stink bug infestation within your home. Stink bug infestations can be hard to tolerate due to the foul odors that they emit when they feel threatened. This means that people that do find stink bugs in their homes must avoid killing the insect intruders unless they want their homes to reek for months afterward. While stink bugs may be a smelly nuisance for homeowners, eradicating these insects from agricultural areas can be very expensive for farmers. Luckily, researchers have recently established a new form of stink bug control that makes use of their natural predators.
The brown marmorated stink bug is native to southeast Asia where it is considered a pest to soybean and fruit crops. The stink bug was accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania during the late 1990s. The stink bug thrived in Pennsylvania, and it has since migrated to several other states. The stink bug has recently established an invasive presence in Europe and South America as well. Fortunately, the stink bug has many natural enemies in the wild. For example, samurai wasps hunt for stink bug eggs.
In an effort to find a solution to the stink bug problem in America, Penn State doctoral student, Hillary Peterson has been promoting the use of samurai wasps as a form of biological stink bug control. Peterson’s work has prompted many other researchers into testing the samurai wasp’s potential at curbing the stink bug population.
Samurai wasps lay their own eggs within the eggs of stink bugs. As the samurai wasp larva develops, it eats the stink bug larva before it can develop into an adult. Once the samurai wasp develops into adulthood, it eats its way out of the stink bug egg, and the cycle continues. The use of samurai wasps in stink bug control is still a long way from being tested in the field, as more research is needed before samurai waps can be let loose in America’s ecosystems.
Do you think that releasing one invasive insect to control the spread of another invasive insect is an unwise idea?