Predatory Wasps and Citizen Scientists are Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer

Great example of the continued importance of natural history work. A group in Maine is using predatory wasps to conduct bio-surveillance on the destructive emerald ash borer.

Entomology Today

By Kevin Fitzgerald

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a pest species that has killed tens of millions of ash trees and has the potential to kill most of the 8.7 billion ash trees in North America. The beetle, native to Asia, was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in 2002 in Michigan. Since then, it has spread into the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada.

Kevin Fitzgerald

Early warning of EAB infestation is critical to treatment and survival of the several species of ash tree affected. But censusing methods have been expensive and difficult. Therefore, scientists have learned to utilize the services of a native ground wasp, Cerceris fumipennis, to estimate the abundance of EAB in a particular area.

C. fumipennis is a solitary hunting wasp that preys almost exclusively on wood-boring buprestid beetles. The adult wasp catches and paralyzes a beetle with its stinger, carries it back…

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