Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Review: classical biological control of invasive stink bugs with egg parasitoids - what does success look like?

Abstract

Although the enemy release hypothesis forms the theoretical basis for classical (=importation) biological control of invasive pests, its core assumptions are not always examined. This could contribute to unrealistic expectations for some biological control programs. In this paper we examine the assumptions that: (i) enemy release has contributed to the invasive nature of four exotic pentatomids in North America; and (ii) classical biological control with egg parasitoids has been or will be successful in reducing populations of these pests below economically significant levels. First, we review the history of biological control programs against invasive stink bugs to highlight the variable and controversial levels of success of introducing egg parasitoids against stink bugs. Then, we use simple stage-structured matrix models to demonstrate that it may be easy to overestimate the contribution of egg parasitism alone to a reduction in stink bug population growth. Finally, we discuss what realistic expectations might be for success of biological control against invasive stink bugs using egg parasitoids in the context of integrated pest management programs.