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Oregon pursues biocontrol of brown marmorated stink bug

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Research continues in Oregon and two other states on a tiny wasp that may end up helping to control exotic pest, brown marmorated stink bug:

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What started out as a nuisance insect pest primarily in homes is now getting into rural areas of Oregon. Entomologist Helmuth Rogg of the Oregon Department of Agriculture says it’s a matter of time before the brown marmorated stink bug starts impacting crops:

ROGG:  “It will take a couple more years before the populations are building up to the point where we will notice them in production areas causing damage.”  :09

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By then, the hope is a biological control agent being researched by ODA at an Oregon State University quarantine facility will prove to effectively parasitize the bad stink bug’s eggs:

ROGG:  “It’s a perfect example for a classical biological control program where you have an exotic pest that comes into a new environment or new country without its natural enemies and they can easily multiply in this new environment.”  :17

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The tiny wasps are a natural predator of the brown marmorated stink bug in Asia. Rearing and testing is also taking place in Michigan and Florida thanks to federal funding. Currently, the lab testing is designed to make sure the parasitoid does not affect native stink bugs and only targets the bad ones. So far, so good, but it could still be a couple of years before the good bugs are released, assuming all goes according to plan. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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ROGG says Oregon is among the states testing the effectiveness of a tiny wasp native to Asia that is a natural predator of a major insect pest threatening agricultural production:

“There is big hope that this is the one that helps us manage the brown marmorated stinkbug population. This year is the first time that we were actually able to do some of the testing in the quarantine facility.”  :12

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ROGG says brown marmorated stink bug poses a real threat because pesticides don’t seem to work well and it is not easily attracted by traps:

“It’s a really difficult pest. No monitoring tool, no control tool. So the only hope that we have at the moment is biocontrol.”  :11

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