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.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (19)
  1. Shane G says:

    I’m curious..what if humans never roamed the planet. Then who/what would control the Ash Borer’s and everything else? So the planet would die without humans? They were put on this earth for a reason too.

    1. Geezer says:

      They got here by humans from asia. You are………….They were on Earth like Mosquitos too? whats their reason to live tree hugger?

  2. Wow says:

    Yay, so we get another Asian Beetle type fix? I am so excited.

  3. Carl says:

    There’s no shortage of WASPs in my burb.

    Praise Jebus, God hates Mother Nature, Amen.

  4. Geezer says:

    Who brought them here hmmmm I wonder????

  5. curious says:

    when the wasps become a problem, then what do we release to take care of them… and so on, and so on, and so on….

  6. Victim Du Jour says:

    Up until a little kid gets hurt or killed by an angry swarm of wasps.

    They should be Teaching the public how to spot a wasp nest, and where they typically nest.

  7. jan says:

    The wasps they are releasing don’t sting, they only kill the ash borer. The ash tree soaks up carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, something we need to live. It also gives shade and is beautiful to look at it. Why would you not want to do everything possible to save trees? Maybe you make your living selling chain saws.

  8. Sheila White says:

    If the was[ps don’t sting, how do they kill the ash borer? I will hug a tree with the best of y’all but I think this is a bad idea.

    1. kim says:

      They don’t sting people. Could be they eat the larve or attack the adult insect.

  9. Victim Du Jour says:

    Trees even look pretty in a camp fire, especially sitting next to a lake.

  10. We says:

    The wasps are extremely aggressive and venomous and will attack anything that moves!

  11. UpNorthNaturalist says:

    These wasps are parasites of the Emerald Ash Borer larva. Spathius agrili is a parasitic wasp in the Family Braconidae. This wasp, along with all Braconids, are incapable of stinging. They are very small, and this allows them to access the larva of the Emerald Ash Borer while they are within the tree. They are entirely harmless to anything else, really. We have many native species of these wasps, and they are very important to the health of our plant communities. Some species of these wasps are sold as biological controls for crops and gardens as well.

    The Emerald Ash Borer represents a grave threat to the forests of Minnesota, as well as the rest of North America. It is unfortunate that these invasive pests arrived on our soil in the first place, but this is simply a consequence of human behavior. Humans, from our early times to present, have brought creatures and plants with them in their travels (on accident or on purpose). It’s only now that we know the possible consequences, and can be more careful about importing life forms.

    Whether or not this introduction of the parasitic wasp brings benefits or ends up causing more trouble is yet to be seen. Hopefully these wasps will help and do no harm, but nature is always unpredictable. The consequences of the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, however, may outweigh any unfavorable results that these wasps bring. Humans are responsible for these problems, and as such we are responsible for fixing them.

    1. jeff says:

      coulnd’t agree more. 🙂

    2. Us says:

      Lies all Lies!!!

      1. UpNorthNaturalist says:

        I’m starting to wonder whether or not the Emerald Ash Borer can operate a computer, because SOMEONE sure doesn’t like these wasps. ^^

        1. Us says:

          It depends on how they tast! Are they crunchy?

  12. Mark from says:

    Why are we not using the new systemics to kill these Ash Boers? They are out there, but the EPA said no. We have the drug for deer browse and we use it, why not in this case? Poor reporting WCCO