Scientists may call on the tiny Samurai Wasp to defeat the destructive Stink Bug Invasion
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a relentless invader, wreaking havoc in fields and orchards across the country. They eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables. They probably first arrived as stowaways in shipping containers.
They have a huge appetite! The stink bug makes a tiny hole in the fruit or nut, it then squirts in chemicals to dissolve fruit, and they suck up the juice through a long proboscis. The fruit looks OK on the outside, but it's rotting and brown on the inside.
But don't squish them, they really do stink! When disturbed, they release an "Olfactory Bomb" from special glands. The smell is like dirty socks or rotting cilantro. In the winter, they love to come into our homes to find a warm, dry place to hibernate for the winter.
Samurai Wasps vs. Marmorated Stink Bugs:
a video from Deep Look, KQED & PBS Digital Studios
A female Samurai Wasp finds a mass of stink bug eggs. One by one she lays one of her own eggs inside each stink bug egg. The wasp eggs hatch and the grown up wasps eat the larval stink bug, then chew their way out of the egg, destroying the egg and keeping the stink bugs in check. In their native Asia, they typically kill 97% of the pesky stink bugs.
Researchers in the U.S. are considering recruiting a tiny wasp from Asia for help, as long as they don't become a pest, too. The wasps have already been found in Oregon, so scientists at Oregon State University are studying them as a kind of biological control. Maybe someday they can release the wasps in places where there are lots of stink bugs. Today farmers are still using pesticides that often kill helpful organisms.
Read More on the Pest Control Technology website or watch more Deep Look videos, viewing science and nature up close. There is also more information from the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.