‘Gladiator bugs’ produced in lab to fight wasps
Officials in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, where gall wasps severely damage chestnut trees, will produce their natural enemy in laboratories to reduce the damage.
Zekeriya Beyazlı, head of the Regional Directorate of Forestry in the city, said that Torymus Sinensis, also known as the “Gladiator Bug,” will be produced and released to the wild next year to fight the wasps.
Chestnust gall wasps, also called “Killer wasp,” were first detected in Turkey in 2014 in a region between the northwestern provinces of Yalova and Bursa and were also seen in Düzce to the north earlier this year.
Originating from China, the wasps leave their eggs on the leaves of the trees, preventing them from having flowers, and hence growing and reproducing.
The only thing that can stop them is their natural enemy, the “gladiator bug” which feeds on those eggs, according to the officials.
As an initial precaution, forest workers in Zonguldak are cutting down the leaves that full of eggs.
“We have the infrastructure to start this biological fight against the gall wasps and enhance the trees’ efficiency for the following years,” said Beyazlı.