Entomologists helping scientists, farmers, and citizens from Abkhazia, understand the biology, threats, and management of brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys
The United States is not the only country recently invaded by the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). In addition to several other countries in Europe and Asia, the Republic of Abkhazia, part of the former Soviet Union, recently received this unwanted visitor. BMSB has become a major pest on important crops including hazelnuts, grapes, and other fruits and is invading homes by the thousands. The United States Department of State and World Learning Incorporated contacted the Department of Entomology to arrange a visit with our leaders and scientists to learn about the brown marmorated stink bug. Their objectives are to discover the impact of the BMSB on fruit, vegetable, and other crops in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.; to identify key research studies and current findings to assist in mitigating agricultural damage of the BMSB on crops in the South Caucasus; and to learn how institutions, organizations and farmers are partnering and collaborating to manage serious pests and other threats to agriculture.
On March 26, 2018, Dr. Michael Raupp helped organize an assembly of scientists. Scientists including the Head of the Institute of Ecology, Head of the Plant Protection Department; Agronomists and Program Manager for Action Against Hunger; and two growers joined Dean Craig Beyrouty, Chair Leslie Pick, and five faculty members of the Department of Entomology to learn about our research and outreach pertaining to the ecology, biology, and management of BMSB and exchange ideas to mitigate this invasive pest. Topics included: Biology, home invasions, and use of ornamental plants (Dr. Michael Raupp); Natural enemies and biological control in several crops (Drs. Paula Shrewsbury and Rebeccah Waterworth); Studying the impact of habitat manipulation on stink bug natural enemies (Dr. Cerruti Hooks); Stink bug damage and management in vegetables and field crops (Dr. Galen Dively); and Molecular approaches to managing stink bugs using RNA interference (Dr. Leslie Pick). Following the visit to the University of Maryland, the contingent from Abkhazia will visit scientists at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station, the Pennsylvania State University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.