Can Wasps Squash The Stink Bug Plague?
Home is where the heart is. It's also probably where a lot of stink bugs are right now, crawling out from cracks and crevices. They were somehow introduced into Allentown, Pa. from Asia in the 1990s, and have been spreading ever since, reaching seemingly plague-like proportions in the mid-Atlantic states. But an experiment is underway to re-introduce the stink bug to its mortal enemy: a parasitic Asian wasp.
The shield-shaped brown marmorated stink bugs descended on the mid-Atlantic region with the fury of a plague last year. If you try to crush them or vacuum them up, they release a smell like cilantro and burning rubber.
But for Bob Black, who runs Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont, Md., they're more than just a nuisance. It's about money.
"This thing is gonna put a big chapter in my book of life. I mean I've never had anything affect me like this," he says.
Just like many other farmers across the region, Black saw a lot of his crops decimated by marmorated stink bugs. They take their long needle-like mouthpiece and stick it into the flesh of fruits and vegetables, leaving them bruised and disfigured.