By John Tooker
A newly established species of parasitoid wasp may help control stink bug populations, but researchers need your input. Please complete their short survey.
I am sure most readers will recall from a few years back the large populations of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) that we endured in our homes and fields. For the most part, large populations of BMSB have settled to the south of Pennsylvania, but the insect species remains here and will likely continue to be occasionally problematic for farmers.
Because of it damage potential, researchers continue to study BMSB and options for controlling it. In 2014, a tiny parasitoid wasp was discovered in North America that attacks BMSB eggs. The parasitoid, known as the samurai wasp, was unintentionally introduced to the United States, but now attacking stink bug populations and have been reported attacking BMSB eggs in ten U.S. states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. Thus far, most detections of the samurai wasp have been in woodlands and not in agricultural systems, perhaps due to higher abundance of nectar in these more natural habitats. Adult wasps will feed on nectar, and wasps that have access to a reliable source of sugar can live longer and provide better control of their hosts.
To understand the potential of improving control of BMSB, extension entomologists based at Rutgers and University of Missouri are planning to test the value of insectary strips near crop fields and orchards to determine if these plantings help bolster samurai wasp populations and improve the control they can provide. The researchers would like grower feedback in the short survey below to help advise their research goals. The survey will be available until October 19, 2018.