Citizen Science Efforts for Redistribution of Samurai Wasp in NYS

Overview: In the summer of 2016-17 the Samurai Wasp was found in Marlboro, NY. Approvals from the DEC in 2017 provided us the opportunity to redistribute the Samurai Wasp in New York State. We developed a colony of Trissolcus japonicus, were able to provide BMSB eggs for the wasp to parasitize and in September of 2017 began providing Samurai Wasp to New York tree fruit growers. Parasitized eggs were placed on 28 orchards in 6 NY counties. In Spring of 2019 the HVRL will provide NYS farmers, rural, urban and suburban homeowners with the Samurai for use on their farms and homes as per request with overnight mailing cost and donations requested.

The Project: The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål), an Asian invasive in NYS since 2007, continues to cause significant injury to agricultural crops. The late season increase in BMSB populations give rise to significant economic feeding injury to apple, requiring multiple insecticide applications to keep the pest from feeding on fruit up to harvest.

The long term goal of the project is focused on the redistribute of laboratory reared Samurai Wasp across regions of NYS where BMSB is present and causing damage to agricultural crops. As populations of the Samurai Wasp are redistributed over time, they will develop and increase in number on each farm and in each neighborhood where they are placed. Over time they will begin to reduce populations of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) populations simply by killing the eggs that BMSB produce.

Samurai Wasp Emergence From Parasitized BMSB Eggs.

Samurai wasp use BMSB eggs to reproduce and in this way increase their own populations. We anticipate sustainable biological control by the Samurai to provide an overall reduction in the injury BMSB causes to vegetable and tree fruit crops, while significantly reducing home infestations. The overall result being a dramatic reduction of insecticide use in NYS to manage this pest.

Importance of Biocontrol in Rural Towns and Cities: As man made dwellings, office buildings and homes harbor overwintering populations of BMSB, there will always be pockets of BMSB in these overwintering locations. Redistribution of Samurai wasp in rural, suburban and urban setting will provide direct access to these non-agricultural locations where BMSB can arise from homes every year. This is especially important during years when the forest dwelling stink bug are unable to overwinter successfully to survive cold temperatures.

Instructions to obtain and redistribute Samurai Wasp: We are requesting that NYS residents (tree fruit, vegetable growers, homeowners…) interested in releasing Samurai Wasp on their farms and neighborhoods send an email request to pjj5@cornell.edu using the subject heading “Samurai Wasp Redistribution”. Cost recovery for shipping, handling, and colony maintenance are requested.

Shipments will begin in early June with sign-up for the program beginning today. The shipments will be on a first come first serve basis through the season as parasitized eggs become available.

* The eggs will arrive in petri dishes with zip ties for attaching to tree branches. Upon receiving the parasitized eggs, place the petri dish in clusters of woodland tree hosts of brown marmorated stink bug. These include sugar maple, white ash, wild cherry, tree of heaven, staghorn sumac along with many other species found on the BMSB Host Plants page on the Stop BMSB web site.

After two weeks you should remove the petri dish, place the lid and secure with rubber bands provided in the package and send the dish back to the HVRL in our return envelope for evaluation.

You are encouraged to send this along to other growers and friends you may know that are interested in the project.

For more information on the Project:
* Background, Justification and Project Development.
* In the News: “It’s War on Stink Bugs”, Poughkeepsie Journal, December 24th, 2017
* Establishing the Samurai Wasp in NY Orchards. October 4, 2017