What is being done about emerald ash borer?
There is considerable work being done in Canada and the U.S.A. on emerald ash borer (EAB) and ash. This includes developing better tools for detecting EAB, improving population control, assessing the ecological impacts of the beetle, ash conservation and tools to help with decision-making.
Canadian Forest Service (CFS) researchers have recently shown the effectiveness of a lure made from a female-produced pheromone (lactone) as a method to improve the effectiveness of EAB survey traps. This lure is now commerically available and can be used in the green prism traps in combination with the green-leaf volatile lure to improve EAB detection.
Biological control is a strategy whereby natural enemies from the native range of the insect are introduced into the invaded range. Only natural enemies that pass extensive and rigorous host range and other testing, and are deemed safe by an international scientific panel can be approved for release. Three wasp species are being released as biological control agents for EAB in Canada, Tetrastichus planipennisi and Spathius galinae which attack larval stage of EAB, and Oobius agrili, which attacks EAB eggs. Several thousand parasitoids have been released since 2013 at a number of sites in Ontario and Quebec. Recently, CFS began rearing their own wasps for this program; wasps were initially obtained from USDA labs.
Genetics of lingering ash:
Occassionally, an ash tree survives EAB attack and persists in an area under long-term EAB infestation. These 'lingering ash' are being examined by USDA researchers in the hope that genetic information from these trees may prove useful. A breeding program with progeny of these trees is showing hopeful results .
Conservation of genetic resources:
The National Tree Seed Centre has been collecting ash seed from a range of ash populations for genetic conservation. This will allow re-introduction of native ash species in the future, as well as providing material for EAB research.
Black ash conservation:
First Nations groups are working on strategies to promote the long-term survival of black ash, a culturally significant species. The Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment is using multifaceted approach which includes seed collection, planting and the use of TreeAzin™ insecticide.
- Watch an update on EAB research in the US, much of which is relevant here in Canada.
- Learn about emerald ash borer population and damage dynamics in woodlands.