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Wasps vs. Stink Bugs: Let the Biocontrol Battle Begin

Just when you think you have an unsolvable problem, nature steps in to help. Everett, WA residents, like most Washington fruit farmers and homeowners, have a serious stink bug problem that has spiraled out of control. Until now, there hasn’t been any way to tame the chaos — Eden Pest is investigating a new discovery.

A Big, Smelly Problem
The crop-destroying marmorated stinkbug, which originated in Asia, gets its name from the noxious smell it emits when crushed; but that’s not why it’s so widely detested. Stinkbugs have caused millions of dollars in damages to orchards located in the Mid-Atlantic region since the discovery of the species almost two decades ago. As it turns out, the bugs really love fruit. Now present in Washington, California and Oregon, stinkbugs are slowly moving westward as scores of entomologists and agricultural experts desperately search for ways to stop them. Because the species is not native to America, stinkbugs don’t have enough natural enemies to keep their population in check. However, change is in the air. 

Nature’s Pest Control: Stink Bug-Eating Wasps
Washington State University scientists have found a parasitic wasp that brutally kills its host. Fortunately, its preferred host happens to be the same species of stinkbug that is decimating our orchards. The minuscule female wasp discreetly lays her eggs inside clusters of stink bug eggs. When a wasp egg hatches, the larva emerges and eats its stinkbug host. Afterwards, it bursts from the egg as an adult adult wasp, and the cycle begins again. This insidious murder would seem like a great basis for a horror movie, but entomologists and fruit farmers are giddy with joy over the discovery. 

Where Has this Treasure Been Hiding?
The wasp species enjoying the standing ovation is called Trissolcus japonicas. Two small clusters of the species were found earlier this year in Vancouver, Washington. Like the stink bug, the wasp hails from Asia, which may explain why the stink bug is its natural target. Trissolcus japonicas is currently under quarantine. It is being studied as a potential weapon against our stinky, fruit-loving enemies. Fruit growers are hopeful that the evaluation will progress quickly, and thousands of tiny stinkbug exterminators will be on duty soon. 

Beyond the Stink
If other insects have invaded your Everett, WA, home, you can still rely on traditional pest control methods to get rid of them. Contact Eden Pest today, and say goodbye to equally annoying, but less stinky, bugs. 


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