As part of the ongoing effort to slow the spread of emerald ash borer (EAB), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has introduced tiny, stingless wasps as biological control in several locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Roseville and Shoreview. Biological control locations.
Releases in the Twin Cities have focused in areas along the Mississippi River corridor and other urban and natural areas infested with EAB to work in conjunction with other city and county management activities. Due to a larger set of tools in the tool chest for urban forest managers, biological control is only one aspect of EAB population management in the Twin Cities and is more heavily focused to natural areas along river corridors where sanitation and treatment options aren’t practical.
Biological control, or biocontrol, is a pest control strategy that pairs an invasive pest with natural enemies that restrict the pest in its native range. MDA has released three kinds of tiny, stingless wasps approved for use as biocontrol by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Biocontrol organisms such as these wasps are used only after extensive testing confirms they will not harm people or impact non-target species or the environment. In 2011, MDA introduced all three species of wasps in Hennepin, Houston, Ramsey and Winona counties to control EAB infestations there.
The loss of Minnesota’s 998 million ash trees would have serious impacts to our environment and the economy. Ash trees are an important part of the ecosystem for many native plants and wildlife. The state’s forestry industry will lose ash wood harvest related jobs and revenue. Also, cities will face major expenses as their ash trees die and need to be removed and replaced.
Monika Chandler, Biological Control Coordinator
Jonathan Osthus, EAB Biological Control Coordinator
Plant Protection Division
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, firstname.lastname@example.org