ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will soon release swarms of tiny wasps in five Twin Cities locations as part of an effort to slow the spread of the destructive emerald ash borer.
The MDA says the wasps don’t sting and won’t harm people or the environment. The pest control strategy, known as biocontrol, pairs an invasive pest with its natural enemies.
Biocontrol program coordinator Monika Chandler says the ash borer is native to Asia and doesn’t have a lot of natural enemies in the U.S. to keep its numbers in check.
Minnesota has confirmed infestations of the pest in Hennepin, Ramsey and Houston counties. The same wasps were released in Houston County last fall. The Twin Cities sites include Langford Park in St. Paul, as well as Tower Hill Park, sites along the East and West River Parkway in Minneapolis.
The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in 15 states. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and disrupting the flow of nutrients.
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