Entomology expert available to discuss stink bug infestations throughout the Mid-Atlantic
By Max Esterhuizen
As the weather gets colder in the Mid-Atlantic region, the brown marmorated stink bug is making its appearance in homes as they ride out the colder months by hiding out in doors, windows, cracks, and other small openings.
Adults tend to aggregate into groups when arriving at overwinter sites, creating nuisance problems for homeowners, says Kevin Rice, the director of the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center. In the spring and summer, these insects feed on a wide variety of fruit and vegetable crops. Rice researches how to control the stinkbugs in order to help the agriculture industry.
“I have focused on novel trap design for monitoring brown marmorated stink bugs and quantifying their movement patterns among landscapes,” Rice said. “I’m currently collaborating with a team of engineers and entomologists to use UV lasers and UAV to track brown marmorated stink bug movement among different landscapes.”
Rice said there is also hope that biological control agents may help control the bugs. In 2014, a small parasitoid named the Samurai wasp was discovered attacking brown marmorated stink bug eggs. This wasp was not introduced to the United States by scientists, but rather made the voyage on its own from Asia.
There, samurai wasps kill up to 70 percent of brown marmorated stink bug eggs. Since their unexpected arrival in the U.S., the samurai wasp has spread across the mid-Atlantic and might be responsible for reduced brown marmorated stink bug populations.
For homeowners, other Virginia Tech researchers found a simple way to trap them using an aluminum pan, light, and dish soap, shown in the video below.
Kevin Rice joined Virginia Tech in 2022 and has extensive experience in his field and a strong record of scholarship and graduate student mentoring. He has successfully obtained extramural funding from federal agencies and private industry in support of his research and extension programs. He directed field trials across 30 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and collaborated with personnel from the Asian-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions, Economic Community of West African States, Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International, USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service, and the American Embassy.
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