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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Biological Pest Control to Combat Emerald Ash Borer

Grey Bruce | by Megan Johnson  

Three types of Parasitoid wasps, which are known to kill their hosts were released two weeks ago.

Image Pennsylvania Deptment Conservation & Natural Resources (wikimedia) 

Biological pest control is taking place at West Rocks Management Area in Grey County to mitigate the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

With funding from Ministry of Natural Resource Canada, three types of Parasitoid wasps, which are known to kill their hosts were released two weeks ago.

Canadian Forest Service (CFS) scientists have allowed  three parasitoids to combat the dangerous beetle and they are the: Oobius agrili - attacks emerald ash borer eggs, Tetrastichus planipennis - attacks the larvae and the Spathius galinae - attacks the larvae.

"They won't kill the entire population of EAB...just knock-back the overall populations and especially kill the hosts," says Grey Sauble Conservation Authority's Forestry Coordinator, Michael Fry.

Fry says the MNR will release the parasite wasps throughout the summers during the best opportunities and return in the Fall for a follow-up.

"We're looking at least four years of releases, but hopefully throughout that time the population can be built up, that it could sustain itself and help contain the EAB in the area," he says.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved these particular wasps as a biological control with Fry adding there is a minute chance that it would attack an off target host.

 "The chances were so low that they figured the greater good would prevailed."

Fry says the wasps are so small one might not even come across them. 

"They're tiny, they're a millimetre in size at most..they only attack the EAB and they won't be able to travel far from where they're released."

The EAB is becoming more prevalent in the Grey Sauble Conservation area, however Fry says the impact isn't as bad as what has occurred along the Lake Huron Shoreline.

In 2017 hundreds infected Ash Trees were removed from Southampton's Fairy Lake and multiple areas from Windsor to Michigan as the insect spread.

Similar projects are taking place with the Upper Thames Conservation Authority and Long Point Region Conservation Authority. 

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