How a tiny Chinese wasp could save America’s Ash trees

Science and Tech

The tree pest first came to the U.S. from China. Now its Chinese predator has been imported to America in an attempt to contain it. The emerald ash borer beetle has already done serious damage to ash trees in parts of the U.S. Now A tiny, sting-less, parasitic wasp may offer the best hope for slowing it down. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy filed this report from Denver, in the U.S. state of Colorado.

How a tiny Chinese wasp could save America's Ash trees

The tree pest first came to the U.S. from China. Now its Chinese predator has been imported to America in an attempt to contain it. The emerald ash borer beetle has already done serious damage to ash trees in parts of the U.S. Now A tiny, sting-less, parasitic wasp may offer the best hope for slowing it down. 

The ash tree provides shade and beauty, retains groundwater and even boosts property values. It also comprises 15 percent of the urban canopy in the U.S., but a non-native insect is threatening its existence. Called one of the worst invasive species in the U.S., the emerald ash borer beetle has been on a rampage since arriving in wooden packaging material from China in 2002. The beetles lay eggs on the tree bark, and the larvae burrow underneath the bark. They’ve killed 50 million ash trees throughout 25 U.S. states. Some say there’s hope. The emerald ash borer has a natural Chinese predator, a tiny wasp called Oobius agrili. Chinese foresters and scientists in the state of Michigan have helped the U.S. release this wasp which targets the beetle’s larvae. Twelve hundred Oobius agrili will be released in the Boulder, Colorado area in the hopes that they’ll reproduce and form a beetle-fighting army, and hopefully save all eight billion ash trees in North America from this epidemic.