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Research Project: Expanded Foreign Exploration for New Natural Enemies of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in China for Classical Biological Control

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Project Number: 8010-22000-028-22-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 30, 2017
End Date: Jun 30, 2020

In this specific cooperative agreement, we will focus on: (1) Survey, collection, and identification of natural enemies (parasitoids) associated with emerald ash borers and other buprestids infesting ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in central and southern China; (2) Import natural enemies into the USDA ARS quarantine laboratory for evaluation as potential EAB biocontrol agents; and (3) Investigate the role of natural enemies in regulating the pest populations in central and southern part of EAB’s native range.

(1) Identify and locate ash and/or fringe trees in central and southern China, and artificially stress these host trees six to 12 months prior to sampling of various live emerald ash borer stages (eggs and larvae). We will target to girdle 20 ash and trees at each study site from central and southern China (including Hebei, Henan, Sichuan, and/or Guanxi) in the spring or early summer of 2017 (Year One). (2) Girdled ash and/or fringe trees will be felled and sampled for immature EAB live stages (eggs and larvae) and associated parasitoids in late fall of 2017 and/or spring of 2018 (Year One). (3) In the spring or early summer of 2018, additional (20 – 40) ash and/or fringe trees will then be girdled, these girdled trees will then be felled and sampled in the fall of 2018 or the spring of 2019 (Year Two) for immature EAB stages and associated parasitoids. (4) To determine if emerald ash borers and/or other buprestids naturally occur in the study sites, two to five green tunnel trap will be placed at each study sites and monitored bi-weekly for any captures of adult emerald ash borers and/or other buprestid beetles. (5) In case that no naturally occurring emerald ash borers are found at the study sites, half of the girdled trees will be artificially infested with laboratory produced emerald ash borer eggs in early summer of 2017 and/or 2018. The sampling procedures for immature EAB live stages and associated parasitoids will involve collecting and examining loose barks from the stressed trees for egg parasitoids and debarking the trees for larval parasitoids. These sampling methods have been proven effective and used for EAB parasitoid survey and collection in several published studies. Specimens of natural enemies, primarily egg and larval parasitoids that show significant impact on wood borers in girdled trees will be collected, identified and shipped to the USDA ARS quarantine facility in Newark, DE for further evaluation of their potential for use in biological control programs. The USDA ARS Systematic Entomology Lab will assist in the taxonomy and identification of collected egg and larval parasitoids.