Researchers document high recovery rate and spatial spread of EAB biological control agent S. galinae
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a small and mesmerizing beauty and also one of the most destructive invasive species in the US. Since its introduction to the US in 2002 it has killed millions of ash trees causing serious economic and ecological damage. One approach for long term EAB management has been to introduce parasitic wasps from EAB’s native range to the US for biocontrol. A recent study by UMD and USDA researchers, Stokes Aker, Rafael de Andrade, Jian Duan and Dan Gruner – published this year in the Journal of Economic Entomology – takes a closer look at the performance of these wasps.
Their study suggests that Spathius galinae has a higher recovery and spatial spread compared to Spathius agrili, at least in Maryland. The authors would like to see continued monitoring and evaluation of both species to gain a better understanding of why one parasitoid appears to have gained a better foothold in Maryland than the other. Information like this is important to improve the efficacy of current biocontrol programs against EAB in North America.
Before concluding a shout out is needed. Congrats to Stokes Aker this is his 1st first-authored paper, and to Dan Gruner his proud UMD mentor.