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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Newark, Delaware » Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit » Research » Research Project #438461

Research Project: Collection, Recovery and Rearing of Emerald Ash Borer and Associated Parasitoids from Infested Ash Logs in Maryland

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Project Number: 8010-22000-031-012-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 30, 2020
End Date: Aug 29, 2025

The emerald ash borer is the most destructive and costly invasive forest insect pest that is spreading rapidly in the Midwestern, Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States, killing stands of ash trees where ever it occurs. To develop an effective biological control program against this pest, the project seeks to evaluate previously introduced biocontrol agents including three larval parasitoids (Spathius galinae, Tetrastichus planipennisi, Spathius agrili), and one egg parasitoid (Oobius agrili). Specifically, the project has two objectives: (1) to collect, recover, and rear emerald ash borers as hosts for rearing newly or previously introduced biocontrol agents that are needed for the in-house USDA research, and (2) to determine the establishment and diversity of both introduced and native parasitoids associated with emerald ash borer by documenting emergence of both native and introduced parasitoids from infested ash logs collected at various sites in Maryland.

Each year from the fall (October) to early spring (March), ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees with symptoms (e.g., bark splits, woodpecker feeding damage) of emerald ash borer infestations will be located and felled from various forest sites in Maryland (4 – 6 trees per site, 6 - 12 sites). GPS coordinates for all felled trees will be recorded. Felled trees will be cut to 1-meter long logs and transported to University of Maryland, College Park, where they will be stored at 1 – 4 oC in a cold box. After a minimum of one months of low temperature storage (to break the beetle and parasitoid) diapauses, logs will be then incubated in environmentally controlled room at ~28 oC for beetle production and parasitoid recovery. Emerging beetles and associated parasitoids will be monitored two to three times a week. While living beetles will be counted, collected and shipped to ARS BIIRU (Newark, DE) for use in rearing the introduced biocontrol agent, any parasitoids emerging in association of emerald ash borer-infested ash logs will also be numerated, collected, and vouchered for identification. These data will be eventually associated with previous parasitoid releases and then analyzed for parasitoid establishment and dispersal. More details can be found in the attached work plan.