Meet the brown marmorated stink bug: A creepy little bugger that can release an odor when attacked (it smells like cilantro — go figure). It was “imported” from Asia about 15 years ago, and has made its home across the mid-Atlantic.
Come autumn, the cold drives them indoors, where you’ll likely find them anywhere and everywhere. (Legend has it that killing one will attract more.) When winter ends, they emerge to lay their eggs — 280 per female.
This year has been a good year for them, which agricultural experts say mean next year is going to be just great.
See, stinkbugs aren’t just annoying, they damage crops. Not to the extent that, say, the boll weevil might, but they attack apple orchards and vineyards, both of which Virginia has. Peaches, apricots, and other fruit, too. It feeds by sticking its nose (sorry, proboscis) into fruits, leaving a dead spot that spreads.
Luckily, scientists are hard at work to try to halt the invasion. One potential solution: Introduce the marmorated stinkbug’s enemy, a tiny wasp that destroys its eggs. Because introducing one non-native creature to control another is almost always a good idea.
What could possibly go wrong with introducing millions of tiny killer wasps?