The stink bug has always been a moderate nuisance among home owners, renters, and farmers. Their traits are primarily invading homes to hibernate in the winter, and stinking the place up if they die at any point. More notably they spend their spring and summer invading crops to eats for themselves, leaving farmers and the public without fresh fruits and vegetables. While this concern has never been ignored, a new population surge of stink bug has unnerved everyone. The solution? The Samurai Wasp.
The brown marmorated stink bug is among several types of stink bugs that have managed to import themselves due to travel and trade between the US and eastern Asian countries, though it is truly unknown.
It was first found in 2001 in Pennsylvania, and has grown into a pest seen nationwide. While stink bugs haven’t been a new occurrence for some time now, there has been a spike of concern among farmers and scientists.
This year we have witnessed a sudden surge of brown marmorated stink bugs, more so than ever before. Already farmers have been facing these pests and struggling to save their crops from them. It has been an uphill battle, but with populations only growing more and more, it is one that is slowly being lost.
Since the stink bug is not native to the US, there is no natural predator that staves it off. To this point farmers have used pest control methods of varying kinds, and homeowners have hired pest control services to assist in any breakouts. Now scientists have deciding it is time to start investigating new methods to handling the consistent rise of stink bugs.
Meet the Samurai wasp, or scientifically named Trissolcus japonicus. These pests are native to the same eastern Asian countries that stink bugs are, and are one of the few known predators of the stink bug. Specifically, the Samurai wasp is a parasitoid of the stink bug, so not only do they fight off the stink bugs, but they take over too.
The Samurai wasp is an extremely tiny insect, and so what it does is lay all of its eggs into a single stink bug’s egg. During this process the wasp will mark the eggs they lay into, and protect it until their eggs hatch. This is one of the times that the wasp will actually attack stink bugs as they try to reach their eggs again.
Currently scientists are researching the Samurai wasp in a highly quarantined facility. Deciding to introduce a new insect always has its potential pros and cons, so before doing so they want to ensure this does not cause any irreparable harm. There is an allotted 2 years scheduled to research the wasp in the facility, observing its patterns and attempting to determine what harms the wasp could bring with it.
This concern can easily be linked to previous times bugs were imported to the US, whether this happened intentionally or not. Stink bugs are one example of unintentional import, but other examples are the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, or the Spotted Lanternfly. Scientists are cautious to introduce anything new without doing research to have a full scope of the effects it may have on our environment.
Hopefully scientists will turn up something with the Samurai wasp to help reduce the rising stink bug populations. For now we will have to stick to the traditional means of controlling them.