Control freaks

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Science  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6402, pp. 542-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6402.542

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A decade ago, as the invasive brown marmorated stinkbug tore through crops and invaded homes in the United States, a team of entomologists went looking for a solution. They traveled to Asia to identify one of the stinkbug's natural enemies—the samurai wasp, an Asian parasitoid that destroys its eggs—and began the painstaking process of studying whether it would be safe to release the wasp back home. Then the wasp showed up in the United States on its own. Researchers are becoming increasingly aware of this perplexing scenario, in which a biocontrol candidate sneaks in before scientists are ready to release it. In the case of the stinkbug, the new wasp's arrival has enabled new field experiments, prompted a fresh look at regulations, and underscored the limits of human efforts to control the environment.