Chinese wasps are taking on the emerald ash borer

Jun 05, 2013
Tetrastichus planipennisi is a parasitoid wasp used to control the emerald ash borer. Credit: USDA Forest Service

The emerald ash borer (EAB), a relatively new invasive insect pest, has killed tens of millions of ash trees throughout the eastern United States since it was first detected in 2002 in Michigan and Canada. This insect has the potential to kill an estimated seven billion ash trees in urban and rural forests and could cause tens of billions of dollars in damage.

To control the EAB, research on its was initiated shortly after its discovery, resulting in a classical biological control program using three parasitoid wasps native to , where the EAB populations in the US likely originated. After research on the biology, laboratory rearing, and host specificity of the three parasitoid species was completed in 2007, federal and state regulatory agencies approved their environmental release in more than a dozen states.

In an article appearing in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology called "Establishment and Abundance of Tetrastichus planipennisi (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in Michigan: Potential for Success in Classical Biocontrol of the Invasive (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)," the authors observed one of the species, Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang, and found that the populations of these parasitoid wasps have been increasing and expanding in Michigan, which suggests that they will likely play a critical role in suppressing the EAB in that state.

Chinese wasps are taking on the emerald ash borer
The emerald ash borer (EAB), a relatively new invasive insect pest, has killed tens of millions of ash trees throughout the eastern United States since it was first detected in 2002 in Michigan and Canada. Credit: USDA

These tiny wasps, which do not sting humans, lay eggs into or on the EAB larvae.

The researchers sampled trees for wasp broods at six forest sites near Lansing, Michigan. By the fall of 2012, the proportion of sampled trees with one or more broods of T. planipennisi increased from 33% to 92% in the plots where the wasps were released. Similarly, the rates of parasitism on the EAB increased from 1.2% in the first year after the parasitoid releases to 21.2%.

Explore further: Japan to hunt fewer whales in Pacific this season (Update)

More information: dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13047

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

Decoys could blunt spread of ash-killing beetles

Feb 15, 2013

As the emerald ash borer ravages North American ash trees, threatening the trees' very survival, a team of entomologists and engineers may have found a way to prevent the spread of the pests.

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

5 hours ago

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

15 hours ago

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 ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

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 ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...