Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Biological War Being Waged on Emerald Ash Borer

Came across this news story in the Society of American Foresters e-mail update.  The story was written by Mike Seilski and posted in the Wall Street Journal on August 23.  The article is very well written and gives a great overview of where scientists are at with the introduction of tiny wasps being used for biological control against the emerald ash borer.  Bio-control measures such as this may be our only hope of saving the ash tree.

The Bugs Rescuing the Baseball Bats
LAKE KATRINE, N.Y.— A blue beer cooler at his feet, John Vandenberg stood at the lip of a grove of ash trees here earlier this month and clasped his hands together in anticipation. The next phase of a great conflict was about to commence at his word. Inside the cooler, beneath a bag of Styrofoam peanuts, rested four clear plastic soda cups, and inside those cups buzzed 482 bugs that might just rescue an iconic instrument of American sport: the baseball bat.

Soon, Vandenberg, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would release the insects—two species of wasp, to be specific—into these Hudson Valley woods. By doing so, he would initiate an entomological tete-a-tete between the wasps and the emerald ash borer, a green-winged, torpedo-shaped beetle that looks at the gleaming shaft of wood in Alex Rodriguez's hands and sees a scrumptious meal for its children.

To read the full story click here.

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