Good Fruit Grower

March 1

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26 MARCH 1, 2016 Good Fruit Grower more severe pest than any of the stinkbugs native to the United States; annual damage to apple orchards alone is measured in the tens of millions of dollars, and BMSB is gaining territory. In 2013, a Vancouver, Washington, apple grower documented the first known BSMB dam- age in the Pacific Northwest. In Michigan, BMSB is now widespread. (See "Have you seen this stinkbug?" at right). Since the brown bug came from China, Hoelmer and other researchers at several universities and agencies looked there to learn more about this stinkbug, including its natural predators. Researchers found several species of parasitic wasps that kill stinkbug eggs, with T. japon- icas by far the most lethal threat. T. japonicas kills up to 90 percent of stinkbug eggs, but does not sting or harm humans or pose a threat to other plants or animals. Researchers in 2007 brought T. japonicas to the U.S. for study in quarantine labs. Federal laws seek to prevent the escape of insects under review for fear of harm to the environment. In the labs, Hoelmer and others studied how T. japonicas lived, fed and died. What did it eat? In China, T. japonicas primarily ate pest stinkbugs but not much was known about its appe- tite for non-pest species. In the USDA labs, researchers presented different stinkbugs to T. japonicas. Almost always in the tests, T. japonicas preferred brown mar- morated stinkbugs. That gave weight to the theory that T. japonicas could work as a natural BSMB control. Then came a big surprise. The research populations of T. japonicas were kept under tight controls but in 2014, some wasps were dis- covered in the wild, just outside of Washington, D.C., in a Maryland suburb. No one knew how those wasps had entered the U.S., but the possibilities included arriving from Asia within stinkbug eggs laid on plant material on a cargo ship or hitchhiking on the clothing of a traveler. This discovery caused a hunt for more T. japonicas, which was found in the district, northern Virginia and other parts of Maryland. Then in October of last year, T. japonicas was found in two small clusters in Vancouver, Washington, by a field technician with Washington State University. Researchers wondered if the T. japonicas found on both coasts were the same, but genetic analysis showed the two groups came from different populations and were unrelated to those under quarantine study, Hoe- lmer said. Clearly, T. japonicas is a savvy traveler. These discoveries meant scientist are now studying T. japonicas on two tracks — those in quarantine and those in the wild. Hoelmer said growers are hopeful that T. japonicas can be authorized as an agent to control brown mar- morated stinkbugs. However, that step requires a review and permitting process, and it's unclear how long that would take. It's possible, he adds, that T. japonicas itself may bypass the process simply by proliferating in the wild. And isn't that what happened in Alien? • "It's a rather strange but fascinating life cycle." —Kim Alan Hoelmer Frostbuster and FrostGuard The Ultimate Form of Frost Protection and Pollination! Frost protection for your fruit crop will protect against night frost regardless of wind speed or inversion layer. Positive test results to as low as 25°F. Ideal frost protection for 2.5 acres to 20 acres. Affordable & Portable. The FrostGuard: the most flexible The Frostbuster: the most economical Our Frostbuster and FrostGuard not only protect your crop against night frost, they also improve the fruit set and pollination. is is an important advantage that we can o er you through our proprietary products. No one else can. Contact us for more details. Agrofrost USA LLC Williamson, NY 14589 (315) 945-7202 or (315) 576-5067 Paige Equipment Sales & Service Inc Rt 104 E., Williamson, NY 14449 (315) 589-6651 Oesco, Inc. P.O. Box 540, Conway, MA 01341 (800) 634-5557 Southwest Ag Specialties Leveland, TX (806) 229-2100 Hermans Mobile Service 2875 Maple Valley Rd., Suttons Bay, MI (231) 256-0065 Agrofrost Canada Tillsonburg, Ontario (519) 777-0446

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