USDA researcher closer to cracking down on invasive stink bugs

    Mean-looking, apple-eating stink bugs are more than just smelly. As the invasive brown marmorated stink bugs creep in from parts of Asia, researchers are looking for a way to stop the little buggers, which can and have damaged farms.

    The USDA’s Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit based at the University of Delaware is closer to solving the stinky problem. It’s not air freshener.

     

    As the Review reports, Kim Hoelmer spends his days inside the USDA lab where’s he determining the effects of parasitic wasps on the invasive stink bug population. Hoelmer traveled to Asia in 2005 to find the brown marmorates’ natural predator.

    Turns out it’s wasps that inject their young into the stink bugs’ eggs. The stink bugs die and more wasps are produced. Hoelmer’s got another couple years of research ahead of him to determine if the wasps will kill off only the invasive bugs and not other species.

    Also something to consider: Do we really want a bunch of wasps flying around?

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