Yesterday, while I was volunteering in the mg answer clinic, I met an entomology graduate student who was showing off his find that was carefully wrapped in a petri dish. Inside was a leaf with a parasitic wasp quietly protecting her eggs that were tucked inside 25 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug eggs. I excitedly asked him if we could take some pictures of his discovery. He agreed. And as we were posing the heroic parasitic wasp in front of the camera he told me that she'll guard her eggs for a month or until they hatch.
Parasitic wasps are a natural predator of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. They lay their eggs inside the BMSBs eggs and the wasp larvae feed off the stink bug eggs. WSU and OSU scientists are busy studying parasitic wasps from China to see if they can be released here as a biological control agent. The concern is that parasitic wasps might decimate our beneficial native stink bug populations.
I'm crossing my fingers that the scientists figure out a solution to the BMSB outbreak soon. The bugs are taking an expensive bite out of our agriculture industry. Now they are moving into Washington's wine regions. Growers are finding some success spraying kaolin clay on fruit trees and grape vines. But, we're all eager for the scientists to make a break through on how to manage this foreign pest.