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Old 07-19-2010, 08:32 AM   #1
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Default Emeral Ash Borer Surveillance

Yesterday, I accompanied the West Virginia state forestry entomologist to a colony of Cerceris fumipennis (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) to learn how to monitor them for the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB - Agrilus planipennis; Coleoptera: Buprestidae). These wasps are specialists on buprestids, and the idea is to use them as a surveillance tool for the EAB - see Cerceris fumipennis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I'll be looking at two colonies; one about 20 miles from here and the other about 12, unfortunately in the opposite direction. As most members probably already know, the EAB is an introduced species that already has killed millions of ash trees in northeastern North America - see Emerald Ash Borer.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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Interesting project. Thanks for the links, saves time as I would have had to look them up to understand that, the wood boring beetle predator (wasp) helped locate the ash borer. Right?
I would like to know more about how that is accomplished.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:16 PM   #3
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Piqued my interest too; after a little Googling I found these two interesting items:

In this one, they've working on a method to use mobile colonies of the wasps:
http://www.uoguelph.ca/debu/pdf/biosurveillance_cerceris_and_eab_2007.pdf

And here's a website devoted to it:
Working with Cerceris fumipennis
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
the wood boring beetle predator (wasp) helped locate the ash borer. Right? I would like to know more about how that is accomplished.
I have not seen anyting published on the methodology the wasp uses to locate its buprestid prey on trees; I would guess a combination of visual and chemical cues would be involved. To see whether wasps are carrying prey to their burrows, a two-holed piece of plastic (seen in the video image at Working with Cerceris fumipennis) is positioned so that one hole is over a wasp burrow and the a golf tee then is pushed through the other hole to hold the plastic in place. When a wasp returns to such a burrow, it can easily slip through the hole if it is not carrying prey, but is stymied if it is so laden. This allows the human observer to collect and identify the prey item. These observations are carried out early in the day, so that wasps deprived of their prey will have ample time to go out and forage for more.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:18 AM   #5
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I read it. What exactly is the role this wasp might play in relation to ecology and our economy?
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:01 AM   #6
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I read it. What exactly is the role this wasp might play in relation to ecology and our economy?
The wasp plays no direct role that I am aware of in human terms; it simply is being investigated to determine whether it can be used as a surveillance tool for the emerald ash borer. Personally, I find the concept of using movable colonies intriguing - somewhat analogous to hauling truckloads of honey bee colonies from place to place...
Ive attached a photo of one of these wasps at its burrow in Greenbrier State Forest in Greenbrier County, WV.
Attached Thumbnails
Emeral Ash Borer Surveillance-100_2853.jpg  
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