Developing biocontrols to contain a voracious pest

Apr 26, 2011
Developing biocontrols to contain a voracious pest
Tetrastichus planipennisi, a parasitic wasp native to China, has been released in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland as a possible biological control of the emerald ash borer.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are playing a key role in efforts to contain the emerald ash borer's destructive march through the nation's forests.

Researchers with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are testing a that could be used as a , along with the release of non-stinging wasps that are the beetle's natural enemies. Wasps have been released in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, and releases are planned in several other states.

John Vandenberg, an entomologist with the ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, N.Y., is evaluating Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that is the active ingredient in a commercially available insecticide. Researchers have found that the fungus helps to control emerald ash borer beetles when it is applied to infested trees before wasps are released.

Results, published in the journal Biological Control, show the fungus kills beetles and persists better on bark than on leaves. More recent work shows the fungus does not harm the wasps. ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports USDA's commitment to agricultural sustainability.

The were first detected in the United States near Detroit, Mich., in 2002 and have since wiped out huge swaths of ash trees in forests and tree-lined neighborhoods. Along with the ecological implications, are used to make furniture, tool handles, baseball bats, and other wood products.

In other work, Jian Duan, an entomologist at the ARS Introduction Research Unit in Newark, Del., is working with state and federal partners to determine how well the three wasp species being released, Oobius agrili, Tetrastichus planipennisi, and Spathius agrili, are surviving the winter in different Northeastern habitats and whether any one of the wasps is more effective than the others.

Duan also recently published a preliminary assessment focused on whether the wasps were able to become established in three stands of natural forests in Michigan. His findings, published in the journal Environmental Entomology, showed that at least one of the wasps (T. planipennisi) had become established in three release sites in Michigan, and that T. planipennisi was the most abundant species of parasitoid attacking emerald ash beetle larvae a year after release.

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

More information: Read more about this research in the April 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine: www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/apr11/pest0411.htm

Provided by United States Department of Agriculture

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists exploit ash tree pest's chemical communication

Apr 07, 2011

A newly identified chemical sex attractant, or pheromone, of the emerald ash borer could mean improved traps for monitoring and controlling the tree-killing beetle. That's the goal of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ...

Cornell leads fight against invasive emerald ash borer

Sep 02, 2010

Cornell University is leading efforts to manage outbreak populations of the emerald ash borer (EAB), a beetle that has the potential to devastate ash trees in the Northeast. The new invasive species is already ...

Wasps wage war on behalf of wiliwili trees

Sep 28, 2010

A black, two-millimeter-long wasp from East Africa is helping wage war on one of its own kind—the Erythrina gall wasp, an invasive species that's decimated Hawaii's endemic wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) and in ...

Scientists Cryopreserve Pest-Imperiled Ash Trees

Oct 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using cryopreservation methods, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have devised a procedure for storing frozen budwood from ash trees (Fraxinus) and thawing the delicate buds for ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.