Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Determining optimal parasitoid release timing for the biological control of emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae).

Abstract

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), quickly established itself as an invasive species in North America after it was first detected near Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 2002. Just 1 yr later, emerald ash borer was introduced accidentally into Maryland, USA, on imported ash nursery stock. After quarantine and eradication efforts failed, a classical biological control program was initiated in Maryland in 2009 with the release of 2 larval parasitoids: Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) and Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and 1 egg parasitoid, Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). Timing is critical to the success, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of classical biological control programs where release of parasitoids must coincide temporally with that of susceptible stages of the host. In 2017, periodic field surveys at 2 sites in central Maryland were conducted to assess emerald ash borer phenology using green funnel traps to sample adults, and debarking infested ash trees to sample larval stages. Adult emerald ash borer first appeared in traps on 18 May 2017 (479 growing degree d base 10 [GDD10]), peaked on 15 Jun (823 GDD10), and were absent from 13 Jul (1,301 GDD10) through 12 Oct (2,598 GDD10) when surveys were terminated. Larval sampling in early Aug (1,698 GDD10) found all larval instars present, the most common being the second instar (46%), followed by the third instar (28%), fourth instar (20%), first instar (5%), and prepupal J-shaped larvae (J-larva) (0.5%). J-larvae are so called because after excavating a pupal chamber, the head is bent down 180 degrees to the rest of the body, resembling the shape of the letter J. Larval sampling in late Oct (2,710 GDD10) found J-larvae to be the dominant stage present (92.2%), followed by fourth instar (4.8%), third instar (2.4%), and second instar (0.6%). We found that emerald ash borer was univoltine, and that nearly 50% of emerald ash borer larvae had developed to stages susceptible to parasitism (third and fourth instar) by early Aug (1,698 GDD10). By late Oct (2,710 GDD10), 92% had developed beyond parasitoid susceptible stages (J-larvae). These findings suggest that egg parasitoid releases are best targeted from early May to late Jun at an approximate GDD10 range of 300 and 1,100 with larval parasitoid releases best targeted between 1,400 and 2,500 GDD10.