UNITED COUNTIES OF SD&G, Ontario – The Canadian Forest Service will be in the Ottawa area over the next few days to release parasitic wasps. The wasps are being released to fight the emerald ash borer, an invasive species of beetle that destroys ash trees.
In a press release, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest says that the Ottawa area is expected to lose most of its ash trees.
There are two species of parasitic wasp being released in the area. One has the scientific name of Oobious agrili and the other is called Tetrastichus planipennisi.
The way these wasps will be disposing of the beetles is gruesome.
“Oobious inserts its egg inside the emerald ash borer egg, its larva consumes the contents, and then emerges as an adult wasp,” says the Eastern Ontario Model Forest press release. “[The other species] attacks the larvae (grubs) of emerald ash borer by inserting its needle-like ovipositor (an egg-laying organ at the end of the abdomen) through the bark and then depositing eggs on the beetle larva. The wasp larvae consume and kill the beetle larva.”
Both species of wasp are from China, but the ones being used by the Canadian Forest Service were acquired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Emerald ash borer typically kills 99 percent of the ash trees after it invades an area,” the press release says. “The release of the parasitic wasps is part of long term strategy to reduce the impacts of emerald ash borer on Canada’s forests.”
The emerald ash borer has been a problem in the Cornwall area as well. In 2014, the City of Cornwall adopted a management plan to deal with the problem that included re-planting different species of trees at a 1:1 ratio to compensate with the loss.