Wasps Turned Loose Against Emerald Ash Borer

Handout from SNC
Wasps Turned Loose Against Emerald Ash Borer
A type of parasitic wasp being released by the SNC to fight the Emerald Ash Borer.

South Nation Conservation (SNC) is helping do battle against the destructive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) by basically fighting fire with fire by unleashing one insect against another.

In this case, two-types of parasitic wasps, harmless to humans, will attack the borer before it emerges.

It’s the latest EAB management project that SNC has been involved in. Led by the Canadian Forest Service with funding support from Natural Resources Canada.

The EAB is an invasive beetle, native to Asia, which was first detected in North America in 2002. Since its arrival, it has killed tens of millions of ash trees.

“Despite best efforts, this invasive species continues to spread, causing considerable economic and ecological damage,” stated Pat Piitz, Team Lead, Property. “Our region has already seen the loss of thousands of trees.”

As part of control efforts, these 1mm non-stinging wasps have been released within a controlled area on one of SNC’s properties along Highway 138, near Moose Creek. Wasps are released every two weeks and work to combat the spread of EAB; one type of wasp is known to go after the borer eggs and the other the larvae. Both types have a high affinity for the invader.

Two Creeks Conservation Area along Highway 2 near Iroquois, will serve as an additional release point next year.

The wasps are reared at a facility in Michigan who provide wasps to 26 states, Ontario and Quebec. These insects are now being raised at a laboratory in Sault Ste. Marie.

Piitz indicated that SNC will receive a population estimate on the wasps and the target beetle after two years; after three years, some ash trees will be cut down to examine for parasitized larvae.

“Invasive species management actions such as these help us protect the natural ecology of ecosystems and biodiversity within our jurisdiction,” added Piitz. “We are hopeful that this effort will serve as another means of pushing back against the EAB.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Pat Piitz, 1-877-984-948 ext. 306, ppiitz@nation.on.ca.

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