In the battle against an invasive tree-killing insect native to eastern Asia, state and federal agriculture officials have decided to use a strategy that lets nature do most of the work.
The emerald ash borer is a species of beetle that feeds on — and eventually kills — ash trees, which are prominently used in landscaping as well as stormwater and erosion control.
After years of failed attempts to eradicate or at least lessen the effect of the pests by destroying infected trees, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Cheltenham are trying to cut off the problem where it starts: with insect eggs. To do so, they have enlisted the help of another east-Asian insect: “stingless wasps,” which are smaller than fruit flies and lay their own eggs as parasites in ash borer eggs, eventually killing the host.
Although the tiny wasps are not a native species, officials said they are confident they will not become invasive.