Since 2001, when the brown marmorated stink bug was first discovered in the United States, their population has rapidly expanded to cover the entire country and annoy farmers and residents. They hail from Asia, where natural predators keep populations in check. Until recently, their continued proliferation seemed inevitable.
A New Natural Predator
For years, stink bugs have flourished thanks to no natural predators in the area. Finally, a natural predator has emerged—a small wasp that will lay its eggs in stink bug eggs. As the wasp larvae develop, they eat the stink bug eggs.
Interestingly, this small wasp was also accidentally brought over from Asia and transplanted to the Maryland area. Recent tests at the USDA and the University of Maryland have confirmed the wasp’s positive control effects on stink bug populations. So far, the wasp has been a predator of stink bugs and helped to manage large populations throughout the area.
The Cold Winters
In some parts of Maryland, the extremely cold and snowy winters have contributed to whopping 90% kills. Recent research studies in Maryland and Delaware have shown that the biggest decider of stink bug population size is temperature. As temperatures rose about 70 degrees, the brown marmorated stink bug populations decreased. As the temperatures decreased, the native stink bug populations decreased due to the freezing weather. The rapid decreases in stink bug population have also allowed for local predators to warm up to the thought of consuming them.
What the Future Holds
As the wasps continue to perform well in testing, they might be released in controlled areas to further research their effect on the environment. So far, there have not been any adverse environmental effects. Many existing and native natural enemies have also developed a taste for stink bugs. The Chinese praying mantis, another Asian import, has also become a predator of stink bugs and helped to decrease the population.
Having trouble with stink bugs on your property? Schedule a comprehensive property inspection today with Brody Brothers Quality Pest Control by calling 410-653-2121 .