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Green Visions
A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m. Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Green Visions: Combating EAB with Wasps

A dark green insect at the tip of a green leaf
John Walker [via Flickr]

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) lives up to its name by feeding on ash trees. Northland residents will often see trees in their communities marked to be removed due to EAB infestation.

In an effort to control EAB, three tiny wasps are being introduced to the region. "For all practical purposes, they're stingless, but the wasps themselves are voracious eaters of EAB," says Christopher Deegan the Wisconsin State Plant Health Director at USDA-APHIS. EAB originates in Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. In that part of the world, these gnat-sized wasps keep the EAB population under control.

Bringing a predator to a new part of the world involves a lot of care and work. It took five years of lab research to ensure that the wasps would attack EAB, only attack EAB, and not create any additional ecological issues. Since 2007, wasps have been slowly released into Emerald Ash Borer areas.

Researchers are continually checking on the status of the wasps and EAB. The initial results are showing that the wasps are bringing down EAB numbers by as much as 80%. "The wasps are our best chance," says Deegan who also notes that the wasp method primarily focuses on forested areas. For private residents with a few ash trees in their yard, talking to an arborist is still the best approach.

For more information about pests in Wisconsin, visit the USDA website.

You can hear Green Visions at 8:20am every Wednesday on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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