A Sting Operation on Potato Beetles
The potato beetle is one of the most noxious pests that can attack a farmer’s crop. It is resistant to insecticides. As a result, it has been America’s most effective destroyer of potato, tomato and eggplant crops. A tiny surgeon from South America, however, has shown promise in combating the potato beetle.
The South American wasp is only about the size of a gnat. The wasp uses a specialized stinger, something like a mosquito’s, to drill up to 50 holes in potato beetle eggs. While the wasp will occasionally eat the egg’s contents, its true goal is far more sinister. The wasp is preparing the beetle egg so that it can insert one of its own eggs within the larger beetle egg. As a result, more than 80 percent of the beetle eggs studied hatch out into South American wasps. And those wasps are looking for more beetle eggs.
Researchers were tipped off to the wasp’s possible interest in potato beetles by its habit of attacking a South American cousin of the beetle. They say that the wasp does not harm other plants, neither does it have an interest in the eggs of other insects. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to establish the South American wasp in North America because it cannot survive the more severe winters.
The fact that the created world is balanced with creatures that can help keep other creatures under control when they become destructive is yet another evidence of the Creator’s design.