Meet the Wasp!

July 19, 2011
Project Canopy
GrowSmart Maine
309 Cumberland Avenue
Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Kimberly Ballard

Come meet the wasp that is helping us look for emerald ash borer (EAB). Cerceris fumipennis is a native wasp which does not sting and likes to live in baseball diamonds. This wasp usually hunts native prey, but when EAB are present, it is very good at catching that pest. It has been helping the Maine Forest Service and local volunteers throughout the state monitor for EAB. Come to a field demonstration with Colleen Teerling, Entomologist for the Maine Forest Service to meet the wasp and see it in action.

The emerald ash borer, (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, a serious invasive pest, has not yet been found in Maine, however it could be here undetected. EAB adults are active between late May and September.  The adult beetles 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. EAB is 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. It was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. EAB has since invaded Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virgina, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, NewYork, Kentucky, Iowa and Tennesee.  EAB is among the forest threats that is 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.

EAB kills trees quickly and thoroughly. As evidenced by communities faced with this pest in the Midwest, the task of removing dead trees for public safety has completely overwhelmed municipal staff and budgets. Planning for the arrival of this and other invasive pests is critical to community efforts to address the tough economic, environmental, social and legal issues associated with an infestation. Early detection utilizing tools such as the Cerceris fumipennis wasp is a critical step in statewide efforts to minimize damage from EAB and other invasive pests.

Cerceris fumipennis is a solitary ground-nesting wasp. The female stocks her nest with metallic wood boring beetles, including emerald ash borer (EAB) when present. Biosurveillance (observing colonies of these native wasps and collecting some of the prey they bring back) is currently the most promising way to monitor for EAB. The Maine Forest Service is looking for colonies of these wasps throughout the state, and would like your help.

Come join us on Wed the 27th at 1pm to see an active colony and find out how you can help!  We are meeting at the baseball diamonds behind the Freeport Middle School, 19 Kendall Lane, Freeport, ME.

For more information on EAB and the work we are doing to prevent its invasion into Maine:

Rain date Friday the 29th at 1pm.