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Research Project: Biological Control of Invasive Wood-Boring Insect Pests such as Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit

Title: Exploring the potential for novel associations of generalist parasitoids for biological control of invasive woodboring beetles

item Wang, Xingeng
item WANG, XIAO-YI - Chinese Academy Of Forestry
item KENIS, MARC - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI) - Switzerland
item CAO, LIANG-MING - Chinese Academy Of Forestry
item Duan, Jian
item GOULD, JULI - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Hoelmer, Kim

Submitted to: Biocontrol
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2020
Publication Date: 8/5/2020
Publication URL:
Citation: Wang, X., Wang, X., Kenis, M., Cao, L., Duan, J.J., Gould, J., Hoelmer, K.A. 2020. Exploring the potential for novel associations of generalist parasitoids for biological control of invasive woodboring beetles. Biocontrol.

Interpretive Summary: Woodboring beetles are among the most important forest pests. Biological control by natural enemies is important in reducing woodborer populations because a majority of the life cycle of woodborers is spent as larvae deep in the wood where insecticide sprays cannot penetrate. Although systemic insecticides can be used, their cost is high and environmentally undesirable over widespread areas and in natural forests. To develop optimal biological control strategies for invasive woodborer pests, we analyzed all known parasitoid wasps worldwide that attack two key groups of woodborers (long horned beetles and flat headed borers) for their general biological traits and host use patterns and determined their importance in successful cases of invasive woodborer biological control. Parasitoids that attack beetle eggs are more host-specific and thus ideal for introduction to new regions, while species that attack larvae are less host-specific but tend to be more common and diverse. Native larval parasitoids have great potential to adapt to attack exotic invasive pests because of their flexible developmental strategy. An optimal management strategy will include both introduced specialist wasps as well as effective native parasitoids for complimentary activity and maximal suppression of invasive pest woodborers.

Technical Abstract: Cerambycid and buprestid woodborers are prominent groups of important invasive forest pests. Parasitoids play a unique role in reducing woodborer populations because of their specific adaptations regarding host immobility and concealment. We reviewed all recorded parasitoid species of cerambycid and buprestid woodborers worldwide to characterize their general life-history traits and macroecological patterns of host use. The parasitoid guilds shift predominantly from more specialist endoparasitoids (egg parasitoids) to more generalist ectoparasitoids (larval or pupal parasitoids) following the hosts’ ontogeny and increased concealment of host feeding niche. Ectoparasitic larval parasitoids dominate the guilds, and many of them locate hosts indiscriminately through substrate vibration from living hosts, rendering attacked hosts (paralyzed) undetectable by other parasitoids and consequently leading to rarity of multiparasitism. We argue that these characteristics may prompt novel associations between exotic woodborers and native larval parasitoids, leading to coexistence and synergistic regulations of host populations by different larval parasitoids. We provide case studies to propose a framework of optimal use of co-evolved and novel associations for complementary and maximal suppression of invasive woodborer populations.