Researchers target bug that has killed tens of millions of ash trees
September 15, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—An international team of researchers has designed decoys that mimic female emerald ash borer beetles and successfully entice male emerald ash borers to land on them in an attempt to mate, only to be electrocuted and killed by high-voltage current.
Our new decoy and electrocution process may be useful in managing what the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service claims to be the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America,” said Michael Domingue, postdoctoral fellow in entomology, Penn State.
According to the Forest Service, the emerald ash borer was introduced to the United States from China in 2002. Since then, it has spread throughout 24 states and two Canadian provinces, and killed tens of millions of otherwise healthy native ash trees.
“Early detection of the pest in traps such as ours can help in coordinating management strategies to slow its spread and minimize its impact,” said Domingue.
The researchers—including entomologists and engineers at Penn State, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Forest Research Institute in Matrafured, Hungary, and the USDA—created the decoys using a bioreplication process with nanoscale fidelity.