Parasitic wasp could control stink bugs

A new fact sheet published on the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys,  by Defra suggests that the use of the parasitic Samurai wasp could be used in the future as a biological control of the pest.

The Samurai wasp (Trissolcus japonicus) is native to east Asia, but is also found in Europe, North America and Chile. It lays its eggs inside the eggs of the stinkbug, preventing the next generation from emerging. ‘It is highly likely that BMSB will be encountered more frequently in Britain as it is becoming more common and widespread on the continent,’ said the document. ‘Pest management strategies for BMSB are being researched and there are a number of promising leads involving egg parasitoids such as the samurai wasp and aggregation pheromones, but there are as yet, no effective biological control agents available specifically for this pest in the UK.’

BMSB was confirmed in the wild in the UK for the first-time last year and according to Defra, ‘The potential economic impact that H. halys may have on the agricultural and horticultural industries, particularly on pome and stone fruit trees, in the UK is unclear. Although conditions are suitable for establishment, H. halys is not likely to cause significant impacts to UK crops since low summer temperatures will limit this species to one generation per year.’

The factsheet also points out that, ‘Pest management strategies for H. halys are still being researched in the USA, and there are a number of promising leads involving egg parasitoids and aggregation pheromones, but there are, as yet no effective biological control agents available specifically for this pest in the UK. However, pyrethroid insecticides (such as deltamethrin and lambda-cyhalothrin) have been shown to be effective treatments.’

Photo caption: Samurai wasps could be used to control the brown marmorated stink bug

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