Forest Service looking for volunteers to look for wasps that eat ash borers

Posted July 21, 2011, at 11:27 a.m.
The cerceris fumipennis seeks out emerald ash borers
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The cerceris fumipennis seeks out emerald ash borers

FREEPORT — Join the Maine Forest Service at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, behind the Freeport Middle School, 19 Kendall Lane to see an active colony of native wasps (cerceris fumipennis) that is good at hunting the emerald ash borer. The rain date is 1 p.m. Friday July 29.

The field demonstration will be lead by Colleen Teerling, Entomologist for the Maine Forest Service.

The wasp does not sting and likes to live in baseball diamonds. Typically it hungs native prey, but when the emerald ash borer is present it is very good at catching it, the forest service said in a press release.

The service is looking for colonies of these wasps throughout the state and is seeking the public’s help in locating them.

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, a serious invasive pest, has not yet been found in Maine, however it could be here undetected. The ash borer adults are active between late May and September, and they nibble on all species of ash foliage but cause little damage.

The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Infected trees do not survive. The borers are thought to have been brought to the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia.

They were discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. Emerald ash borers have since invaded Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virgina, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Iowa and Tennesee. They are among the forest threats that are easily moved in firewood. Maine’s scenic places draw thousands of visitors and seasonal residents each year, providing many opportunities for potential pest introductions on firewood.

Emerald ash borers kill trees quickly. In the Midwest communities have been faced with budgets overwhelmed by costs of removing dead trees for the safety of the public.

For more information on EAB and the work the Maine Forest Service is doing to prevent its invasion into Maine: http://www.maine.gov/doc/m fs/fhm/pages/CercerisVolun teers.htm ; http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/EAB_ID.htm

 

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