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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Staff Summary
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Roger W. Fuester

  • I work on four projects, biocontrol of emerald ash borer, biocontrol of tarnished plant bug, biocontrol of soybean aphid, and biocontrol of brown marmorated stinkbug. Our work on emerald ash borer involves primarily foreign exploration for and laboratory evaluation of natural enemies that attack the pest in the Far East. Our work on tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) involves trying to get Peristenus relictus, a parasitoid Lygus bugs in southern Europe, established in the lower Middle Atlantic States  Our work on soybean aphid focuses on studying the complex of natural enemies attacking the pest on soybeans and on buckthorn, its overwintering host plant.  In addition, we are currently conducting surveys for natural enemies of brown marmorated stinkbug in Delaware.

  • Biological Control of Emerald Ash Borer(click here)

e-mail: Roger W. Fuester

Emerald Ash Borer mating pair

Jian J. Duan | Keith R. Hopper| Kim A. Hoelmer | Paul W. Schaefer| Michael T. Smith| Jay Bancroft

  Jian J. Duan

  • The goal of my research is to develop sustainable and effective biological control programs against invasive forest and agricultural pests while at the same time minimizing the possible adverse non-target risk from importation and introduction of non-indigenous arthropod natural enemies (primarily parasitoids) into the North American environment.  With the assistance from Susan Barth , Kristi Larson, Jonathan Schmude, and Timothy Watt, and collaboration with Roger Fuester and Philip Taylor, I am currently working on biological control of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), an invasive metallic wood-boring beetle, that has killed over 30 million ash trees in North America to date, and threatens to kill 200 times as many unless controlled.
  • The specific objectives of my research on biological control of the emerald ash borer are to: (1) study the biology, behavior, ecology, and host specificity of several candidate natural enemies (hymenopteran parasitoids) that may be potentially used in classical biological control of emerald ash borer;  (2) investigate the role of these natural enemies in regulating population dynamics of emerald ash borer in both their country of origin (China) and their country of introduction (US); and (3) develop spatial and temporal population dynamic models to predict the success of colonization, establishment, and distribution of these natural enemies in their new region (North America) of introduction.

Biological Control of Emerald Ash Borer(click here)

email: Jian J. Duan

Tetractichus pupae and emerging adults in Fon Cheng Liaong, CHINA

Roger W. Fuester | Keith R. Hopper | Kim A. Hoelmer | Paul W. Schaefer | Michael T. Smith| Jay Bancroft

  Keith R. Hopper

  • My colleagues Kathryn Lanier, Kristen Kuhn, Dr. Qiyun Li, and I study the genetics of host specificity in biological control agents introduced for control of arthropod pests and weeds.

Host specificity is crucial for safe, effective biocontrol of insect pests and weeds.  Host specificity depends on internal physiological state and previous experience, as well as ecological factors. Furthermore, the likelihood that an insect will evolve to attack a novel species depends on the genetic architecture of host use.


Using behavioral analyses and quantitative genetics, we are determining the basis for host shifts in parasitoids of insects such as soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) on soybean, Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) on small grains, cherry vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) on soft fruits, and other invasive insects, and of insect herbivores, such as noctuid moths in the genus Heliothis on cotton and other crops.

Cryptic species are closely related species that differ little in the morphology but critically in other traits, including host specificity. We are developing robust phylogenies and keys for species complexes important for biological control, in particular aphid parasitoids in the genus Aphelinus.

We are using the knowledge and methods from the above research to screen candidates for introduction against invasive pest species, introduce the most promising candidates, evaluate their impact on target and non-target species, and determine whether screening improved the success and safety of biocontrol introductions.

e-mail: Keith R. Hopper

Aphelinus asychis parisitizing host 

Roger W. Fuester | Jian J. Duan | Kim A. Hoelmer Paul W. Schaefer| Michael T. Smith| Jay Bancroft

Kim A. Hoelmer

  • The main objective of my research is to improve the biological control of crop pests important to agriculture in the mid-Atlantic region.  I am currently working with three target pests, assisted by Kathy Tatman and Phil Taylor in collaboration with Roger Fuester and Keith Hopper.   Ongoing research at BIIR on natural enemies of tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris, and alfalfa plant bug, Adelphocoris lineolatus, in the eastern U.S. includes evaluating the benefits of biocontrol of Lygus on fruit crops in the northeastern U.S. by the previously introduced parasitoid Peristenus digoneutis; and working to establish additional natural enemies that will improve the biological control of alfalfa plant bug and of tarnished plant bug in the mid-Atlantic region.   Our research on the Chinese soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, involves assessing the impact of indigenous natural enemies that attack soybean aphid populations in the mid Atlantic area and conducting foreign exploration in Asia for effective natural enemies of the aphid for importation to the U.S.   These explorations also support interagency soybean aphid biocontrol programs in the Mid-West .   We are also investigating the potential for classical biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, a polyphagous pest of many fruits and ornamentals that has established in the mid Atlantic region.   We are collecting baseline data on the natural enemies that attack it in North America and in Asia .   If warranted, we will screen Asian candidates for biocontrol introductions and introduce promising species into the mid Atlantic states.

email: Kim A. Hoelmer

Brown Marmorated Stinkbug Adult

Roger W. Fuester | Jian J. Duan | Keith R. Hopper | Paul W. Schaefer | Michael T. Smith | Jay Bancroft

Paul W. Schaefer

  • Beginning in 2003, I commenced studies on Emerald Ash Borers (EAB), Agrilus planipennis(Coleoptera: Buprestidae) with an emphasis on foreign exploration for both EAB and its natural enemies.   Initial work has been done in Japan, Korea and Mongolia with prospects for continued exploration in China in 2005.  Populations have been difficult to fine in both Japan and Korea although museum collections indicate that EAB is widespread in both these countries.   In Mongolia, no records indicate that EAB nor it host trees Fraxinus spp. are present there. 
  • I continue to study natural enemies of gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar(L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) and related species of Lymantria with an overall objective of using candidate species for the biological control of gypsy moth and to understand the chemical communication occurring between gypsy moth hosts and their natural enemies or sex pheromones of the natural enemies, particularly Glyptapanteles flavicoxis(Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Pimpla disparis(Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae).
  • With extensive experience in the Far East, especially Japan, China, and Korea, my interests continue into our understanding of variation of Lymantria disparor the Asian gypsy moth. Currently in collaborative work with taxonomists, we are leaning toward the separation of distinct species and subspecies from the L. dispar complex.
  • Since 1995, I have been working in collaboration with scientists at Simon Fraser University in the identification of sex pheromone of selected species of the Lymantriidae.   Together we have identified the sex pheromones of Lymantria xylina, L. mathura, L. fumida, L. serva, L. lucescens, L. bantaizana, L. atemeles, L. plumbalis,  Perina nuda, Teia anartoides, Orgyia thyellina, O. vetusta, and O. detrita and some initial progress on several other species.   We would welcome collaboration on other related lymantriid species from elsewhere in the world.

email: Paul W. Schaefer

Lymantria xylina female laying eggs  

Roger W. Fuester | Jian J. Duan | Keith R. Hopper| Kim A. Hoelmer | Michael T. Smith| Jay Bancroft

Michael T. Smith

  • My colleagues ( Ellen Aparicio and Jinquan Wu ) and I conduct a wide range of studies on Invasion Biology, with an emphasis on the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky). We have two primary lines of research: 1: Investigate Biology, Behavior and Ecology of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Within its Countries of Origin and Within its Countries of Invasion.   1.1. Identify ecological and behavioral traits vulnerable to intervention and development of detection, monitoring, control and other IPM strategies. 1.2.Conduct studies of the process of invasion biology that will result in development of predictive spatiotemporal models (e.g. population spread, seasonal occurrence, population abundance and host colonization) for use in directing the implementation of IPM strategies for existing introductions, as well as for use in restricting establishment, proliferation and spread of future introductions. 1.3. Conduct studies for development of technologies for detection of trees infested by ALB. As a result of these investigations, we are gaining a unique insight into this cerambycid species that can also serve as a template for this poorly understood group of important insect pests. Furthermore, within the context of invasion biology, we expect to contribute new knowledge to the process of invasion of ALB that will aid in developing proactive approaches that will increase the probability of early detection and rapid eradication of this and other invasive species, thereby reducing the risk of establishment, proliferation and geographic spread.
  • 2: Biological Control for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).2.1. Conduct foreign exploration for natural enemies within the countries of origin (China and Korea); identify and import promising candidate species; and evaluate their target and non-target impacts in quarantine. 2.2.Conduct domestic exploration for native North American natural enemies found parasitizing: (1) ALB within North American infestations; and (2) native cerambycid species most closely related to ALB (e.g. ecologically). Collectively, for the most promising candidate species, we will: (a) develop mass rearing technology; (b) develop protocols for inundative releases or introduction; and (c) evaluate their impact on ALB and non-target species.
e-mail: Michael T. Smith
Asian longhorned beetle

Roger W. Fuester | Jian J. Duan | Keith R. Hopper| Kim A. Hoelmer | Paul W. Schaefer| Jay Bancroft

  Jay Bancroft (Quarantine Officer)

  • Quarantine Officer's responsibility is to provide an optimal artificial environment for living exotic beneficial organisms, develop preliminary techniques to handle and reproduce these organisms, coordinate the examination and identification with recognized taxonomic authorities, develop and review standards which allow the release of these organisms from the Quarantine Containment Facility, conduct basic research on the biology and ecology, and maintain an effective distributional monitoring system for all exotic organisms imported and released from the Quarantine Containment Facility. I am also responsible for maintaining and updating the laboratories computerized beneficial insect information system "BIRLDATA", which currently contains over 60,000 records pertaining to USDA-APHIS-PPQ permits, importation, identification, voucher/reference specimen collections, host insect and host plant relationships, rearing/reproduction, distribution and release of beneficial organisms received by the Quarantine Containment Facility.

email: Jay Bancroft

Take a short tour of Quarantine with Windows Media 

Take a short tour of Quarantine

(Click above)

Roger W. Fuester | Jian J. Duan | Keith R. Hopper| Kim A. Hoelmer | Paul W. Schaefer| Michael T. Smith



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Last Modified: 4/10/2013