UH seeks permit for wasps that eat fruit flies

UH seeks permit for wasps that eat fruit flies

HONOLULU (AP) - The University of Hawaii has applied to the state for permission to release wasps that could attack Mediterranean fruit flies, an insect that causes millions of dollars in damage to crops.

UH researcher Russell Messing tells the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the wasp is the size of a gnat and is originally from Kenya.

It lays eggs in the young of the Mediterranean fruit fly. Wasp larvae eat young flies.

Messing and colleagues from Florida and Texas conducted studies on the wasps in Kenyan coffee fields with funding in part from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A University of Hawaii environmental assessment concludes there would be no significant impact from the release of the wasp in Hawaii.

The state is accepting public comment on the application through Oct. 23.

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