Samurai Wasps Deployed to Battle Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Samurai Wasps Deployed to Battle Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Samurai wasps

Samurai wasps lay their eggs inside the brown marmorated stink bugs’ eggs, killing developing nymphs and hatching as adult wasps. (Photo: The Cornell Chronicle/Elijah J. Talamas, USDA)

Cornell University researchers are no strangers to the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Peter Jentsch tells The Cornell Chronicle apple growers saw loses of 20% to 30% from damage during the 2012 growing season.

Jentsch, a Senior Extension Associate and Director of the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory in Highland, NY, is a part of a team rearing and deploying samurai wasps (Trissolcus japonicus) in 24 farms and 32 sites throughout New York to help control BMSB. The team also placed stink bug eggs around the perimeter of the research plots to determine of the wasps would attack them.

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The Chronicle reports 70% of the wasps survived the release and wasps parasitized eggs placed at two of the sites.

“As a biocontrol agent, the wasp is not only very effective at reducing the population of brown marmorated stink bugs, but [it is] the least environmentally damaging of all the options for controlling this pest in both the urban and agricultural system,” Jentsch told the Chronicle.

Jentsch is working with Art Agnello, Professor of Entomology with Cornell University, as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists to create an invasive mapping system of the state to illustrate the presence of BMSB.