Cool Stink Bug Eggs
Hey, kids! Have you ever thought about raising bugs for money? Rearing the right bugs can help combat crop pests. And now new research offers guidance that can make it easier for companies and labs to raise one particularly helpful stink bug, Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas).
Also known as the Brazilian spined soldier bug, Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) preys on leaf-eating caterpillars. Yes, most of us remember Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a charming picture book. But the wrong kinds of caterpillars can destroy fields of corn, kale, cotton, soybeans, and other crops.
In the new study, Alessandra Vacari at São Paulo State University in Brazil and her colleagues incubated the helpful stink bug eggs at different temperatures. They found that the best temperature for storing the eggs is 15 degrees Celsius, which is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cool enough for most of us to want a sweater or light jacket, but significantly warmer than your refrigerator.
“Our results suggest that low temperatures can be used to store eggs for mass rearing of this potential biological control agent,” the authors conclude. Then farmers could coordinate the bugs’ release with pest outbreaks. The study appears in the January 2014 issue of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
This sounds like a great idea and is certainly worth further study. I can also see it as potential fodder for sci-fi writers’ imaginations. Watch for giant, mutant, out-of-control stink bugs coming soon to a movie screen near you!