Right now, among the Ash trees of Lincoln, brutal, bug-on-bug warfare is occurring among species not native to the state.
David Olson of the U.S Forestry service tells KLIN News the federal government has introduced three different species of Chinese wasps to Lincoln to combat the emerald ash borer, also a China native.
“In their native range, these are things that have kind of evolved with the EAB to go after EAB, to use it as part of their life-cycle
Olson says the introduced wasp species are parasitic in nature, with one species laying eggs directly on top of or near EAB larvae for their children to devour.
The other species do much of the same thing, much of the same thing, except they target borer eggs.
Olson says the introduced species are incapable of stinging people and, in fact, you probably won’t even notice their presence.
“They’re all very very small. The largest one even then is probably only a little bit over a centimeter.”
Additionally, Olson says the wasps won’t damage the ecosystem,
He says they were chosen by the federal government to be introduced to the area specifically because of the minimal impact they’re expected to have.
Olson says the wasps won’t save Lincoln’s current ash trees from devastation, but they are part of a multi-pronged approach to curb populations with the hope of one-day re-introducing ash trees to the area.
“It’s kind of a little early to tell how effective it’s actually going to be at helping to manage EAB populations but these are things that have been used now for well over a decade.”