New 'Alien' Wasp Is Bad News for Growing Pest

'In the insect world, we struck it rich'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2015 6:00 PM CDT
Kind of like this, but much scarier for stink bugs.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Usually the discovery of a wasp described as something out of the movie Alien would be cause for alarm. Instead, the AP reports scientists are celebrating. That's because the Trissolcus japonicus kills crop-ruining stink bugs. The wasps—which, in more good news, are non-stinging—were found in Vancouver, Washington, over the summer by scientists at Washington State University. "We did not expect to find this wasp here and are very excited about the discovery," entomologist Elizabeth Beers tells the AP. "In the insect world, we struck it rich."

The AP reports the parasitic wasp is native to Asia and targets a type of stink bug also native to Asia but now present in the US. The female wasp lays its eggs inside stink bug eggs. The wasp larva then hatches, eats the stink bug, and "bursts" out as an adult wasp. This is good news for farmers because the stink bugs have caused millions of dollars in damage to fruit orchards in less than two decades. According to the AP, the US government has been studying Trissolcus japonicus in quarantine as a possible weapon against the stink bugs for eight years. (Read more wasps stories.)

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