Could exotic wasps fix the Spotted Lanternfly problem?

Spotted lanternfly populations grow rapidly and can breed and spread along tree trunks. (Lawrence Barringer/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture)

Delaware scientists are importing exotic wasps in the hope that they may help solve the problem of the Spotted Landernfly invasion.

Inside a quarantined USDA lab in Newark, Delaware, scientists are hard at work brainstorming the unique solution. ABC reports that Dr. Kim Hoelmer, a research entomologist, is working with a wasp from China that may be released into the surrounding ecosystem.  

Dr. Hoelmer told ABC, “We do know that these two wasps are important natural enemies of the lanternfly in China, so we hope to find they’re safe enough to release here.”

The doctor explained that these types of wasps can’t sting humans or animals, and are about the size of a fingernail when fully grown.

Scientists plan to continue the study for three years. 

Although the research seems promising, it’s still in the early stages. The wasps are currently in cocoons.

For now, if you see a spotted lanternfly follow the PA Department of Agriculture rule and, “Kill it! Squash it, smash it…just get rid of it. In the fall, these bugs will lay egg masses with 30-50 eggs each. These are called bad bugs for a reason, don’t let them take over your county next.”

 

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