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Wasp Watchers Wanted!

Wasp Watchers MassachusettsHave you heard about the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that attacks and kills ash trees? Did you know that this invasive pest has now been found in Massachusetts? The Massachusetts Wasp Watchers project needs your help to detect EAB! We’ve found a wasp that is an expert at hunting them, and we need volunteers to assist with tracking those wasps.

The smoky-winged beetle bandit (Cerceris fumipennis), a native wasp species, feeds its young by catching beetles in the Buprestidae family, including that most infamous of Buprestids, emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis).

Cerceris wasp and EAB Cerceris wasps are a valuable tool in our efforts to find EAB as early as possible, and early detection is our best weapon in preparing for how to manage this pest. The wasps are easy to hunt for, because they build their nests in baseball fields, parking lots, and other places where hard-packed, sandy soil is found. And, lucky for us, these wasps do not sting, even when handled.

The Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources is looking for volunteers to adopt sites with established wasp colonies, to monitor the wasp nests and collect beetles. We will train you and provide you with the tools you need. A training session is coming up mid-June, when the wasps are first expected to emerge for the summer. To register, fill out the form below. For more information, contact Jennifer Forman Orth at jennifer.forman-orth@state.ma.us or 617-626-1735.

To learn more about the Massachusetts Wasp Watchers project, see our previous blog post.

Cerceris Wasp Hunting in Carlisle, MA

Photos by M. Bohne (USFS) and Ale Echandi (DCR).

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