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The Fall of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Last summer we captured an important biological control agent, a parasitoid wasp, that uses the eggs of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) for its own reproductive success. This tiny wasp, is half the size of a pencil tip, capable of laying its eggs in the eggs of BMSB. We were able to entice this newly invasive insect to lay its eggs in the sentinel BMSB eggs we provided along the wooded edge of an organic Jalapeno Pepper planting in Marlboro NY. Once we reared the wasp out of these eggs at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory in Highland, NY, specimens were sent to USDA, and to our amazement, it was confirmed as the Samauri Wasp, Trissolcus japonicus.

Trissolcus-japonicus.Image: Elijah Talamas, USNM

Researchers believe this wasp to be the most effective tool for reducing BMSB in the United States, where the stink bug has spread over the past 20-years. As this tiny wasp is captured, reared and moved to locations where BMSB is a pest, it will significantly reduce home infestations of BMSB from occurring in the fall, reducing the need to spray the exterior and in some cases, the home interior, to keep the stink bug from entering and overwintering in homes.

More importantly, this parasitoid can save fruit and vegetable farmers millions of dollars in management costs and yearly loss of crops as BMSB populations decline.

If we can distribute and establish the wasp in NY, it will be the David and Goliath story of the decade.

The project we are conducting is two fold. First we need everyone’s help to locate the BMSB in the US. We are doing this by creating a National Citizen Science Project to locate the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug within the continental US. The attached PDF file and web site links embedded in the PDF describe the how’s and whys.

Parasitism of BMSB eggs by Trissolcus japonicus

The second phase we plan to conduct begins this spring and summer, 2017. Our goal is to again capture, rear then distribution and establish Trissolcus japonicus in the agricultural environment of New York State. Significant funds are needed to make this a reality. We will be working with land grant university and USDA entomologists, researchers technical support staff throughout the US to utilize this wasp for one objective, the biological control leading to the demise of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in the Hudson Valley of NYS and ultimately, the US.

You can help by letting us know where the insect is this spring. Sign on to the National March Madness Citizen Science Project to put your BMSB in your homes on the map!