Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:29 AM

Bio-surveillance: Utilizing Cerceris fumipennis (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) to detect infestations of emerald ash borers, Agrilus Planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

Philip D. Careless, pcareles@uoguelph.ca1, Steve Marshall, samarsha@uoguelph.ca1, and Bruce Gill2. (1) University of Guelph, Insect Systematics Lab, Department of Environmental Biology, Edmund C. Bovey Building, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, (2) Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 960Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Cerceris fumipennis Say is a native eastern North American beetle-hunting wasp (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) that provisions its nests almost exclusively with adult metallic wood-boring beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) including the destructive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire; hereafter referred to as EAB). Its distribution and unique behaviour renders C. fumipennis a potential ally to current efforts to monitor EAB. Current monitoring methods for EABs are costly, labour intensive and at times destructive or impractical. We present a novel solution for a complex monitoring problem: using a wasp to find Emerald Ash Borers.

We are investigating five aspects of the wasp’s biology relating to its EAB surveillance capabilities.

i) Defining the biotic and abiotic characters of known C. fumipennis colonies in Ontario. ii) Identifying C. fumipennis’ daily and seasonal foraging phenology. iii) Quantifying the effect that researcher/surveyor interference will have on the wasps’ behaviour. Results from 2006 suggest that researcher interference has little effect on the continued provisioning of a nest. iv) Estimating the foraging range of C. fumipennis and consequently the area effectively sampled by a wasp colony. v) Experimentation with the development of both transplant and mobile colonies. This addresses the limitation that monitoring is currently restricted to areas near naturally established colonies.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Crabronidae Cerceris fumipennis (digger wasp)
Species 2: Coleoptera Buprestidae Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer)