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Environment and Outdoors

State To Release Pest-Killing Wasps To Combat Emerald Ash Borer

Courtesy University of Maine
An emerald ash borer on a leaf.

The Maine Forest Service is releasing three species of tiny, non-stinging wasps in northern Maine as part of an effort to battle an invasive pest that's killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.

Maine Forest Service Entomologist Colleen Teerling says one species of wasp lays its eggs on the outside of the Emerald Ash Borer's larvae, and another species lays its eggs on the inside.

“They develop inside the larva, eating it from the inside and then, sort of like a scene from Aliens, they'll burst forth from this carcass of the Emerald Ash Borer,” says Teerling.

She says the third wasp species goes after ash borer eggs on the surface of the bark.

Teerling says using the parasites is part of a long-term fight against the Emerald Ash Borer, which was found in northern and southern Maine last year. Teerling says the Forest Service is also on the lookout for suitable sites to release the wasps in southernmost Maine.