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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Research Project #429097

Research Project: Area-wide Management of the Emerald Ash Borer to Protect U.S. Plant-Related Industries and Urban and Natural Forest Ecosystems in Midwest Region

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Project Number: 8010-22000-028-13-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2015
End Date: Sep 15, 2018

The overall goal is to decrease the economic and ecological impacts of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, in urban, suburban and forested areas in Upper Midwest (Michigan) by developing area-wide pest management strategies that are adapted to the dynamics of EAB populations at different phases of the invasion process. These strategies will involve integrated use of tactics including selective treatment of infested trees with a highly effective, systemic insecticide (emamectin benzoate; TREE-age®), girdled trap trees (for a lure-and-kill approach) and classical biological control with Hymenopteran parasitoids introduced from EAB’s native range. Specifically, we will determine whether natural enemies, alone or in combination with application of a highly effective systemic insecticide and/or girdled trees, can control EAB densities and allow persistence and recovery of ash, in core areas of the invasion (Upper Midwest Region).

Replicated field experiments will be conducted to evaluate effects of (a) biological control alone (i.e., releases of introduced parasitoids) and (b) integrating biological control, treatment of selected trees with the systemic insecticide and /or girdled trap trees. Field trials will be set up in an area of central lower Michigan (Isabella County) where DGM has had EAB research underway since 2008. We will select three areas, each 40 acres in size, on state forest land. In 2008-2009, all ash >10 cm DBH in each area were inventoried by DBH class. Density of EAB larvae was recorded annually on at least 8 felled and debarked ash trees, located systematically in each area. For this project, we anticipate dividing the 40 acre areas into four equal quadrants (each consisting of 16 grid cells comprising 10 acres). One quadrant will remain untreated, while 10-30% of live ash trees (or ash phloem area) in another quadrant will be treated with the TREE-age™ product. Asian parasitoids will be released in a third quadrant. In the fourth quadrant, parasitoid releases and the insecticide will be combined. We expect that as T. planipennisi and other parasitoids disperses, we will eventually end up with two quadrants that have only parasitoids and two quadrants with parasitoids plus the systemic insecticide treatment, paralleling the situation in Ingham and Clinton Counties. Similar experimental designs will be also be used at selected sites in the Northeast Region.