UW-Madison researchers are involved with several research projects focusing on the emerald ash borer. These projects range from biological control efforts to insecticide options for protecting ash trees from EAB.
EAB research by Dr. Chris Williamson and P.J. Liesch (UW-Madison Entomology Department) has focused on evaluating and developing insecticide management strategies. The Williamson lab has been conducting field trials at sites in the greater Milwaukee area since 2009, and has recently initiated a trial in the Beloit area. While insecticides are not a cost-effective option for large areas, recent work has shown that many of the commercially-available insecticide products for homeowners and professional arborists can be effective in preserving the health of individual trees. A list of available insecticide options can be found in the EAB News and Resources Page.
EAB research in Dr. Ken Raffa’s forest entomology lab, led by Todd Johnson, a master’s student, focuses on the behavior of native and introduced parasitic wasps of the Emerald ash borer. A better understanding of how native generalist, and introduced specialist, parasitic wasps find and react to the immature stages of the beetle will provide further insight into how to effectively target the destructive pest. In addition to his behavioral work, Todd has been Wisconsin’s Emerald ash borer biological control release coordinator since August of 2010, releasing ~6000 wasps in heavily infested areas at River Edge Nature Center in Newberg, WI in 2011. The biological control releases are an ongoing partnership between the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR), UW Madison, and the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).