Scientists in Dorchester County Fight Bugs with Bugs - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Scientists in Dorchester County Fight Bugs with Bugs

Posted: Jun 07, 2018 8:58 PM Updated:
Courtesy: David Showalter & Michael Falk Courtesy: David Showalter & Michael Falk

SHARPTOWN, Md. - Scientists say it's beautiful but deceiving.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle smaller than a penny. Originally from northeast Asia, it was first discovered in Michigan back in 2002. Since then, it's been spreading rapidly across the U.S., killing off millions of ash trees. In Maryland, scientists say sightings of the emerald ash borer began about two years ago.

Those same scientists say they have a trick up their sleeve. In a boat near Marshyhope Creek and the Nanticoke River, you'll find Maryland Department of Agriculture entomologist Heather Disque. Next to her is a box of biological weapons ready to save the surrounding woodlands.

Disque says, if nothing's done, the tiny insect will bore into ash trees and choke them to death. Signs of the trees dying are already beginning to show.

"You're going to lose 60 to 70 percent of the canopy cover here, so it's fairly significant in this area," Disque said. "Some of these trees are showing signs of die-back."

But inside Disque's box is plastic cups filled with over 600 tiny parasitic wasps, called Spathius agrili. They're harmless to humans but a known killer of the Emerald Ash Borer. Disque opens up the cups, letting the insects fly off. The wasps will later use their tiny stingers to dig into trees and attach eggs to Emerald Ash Borer larvae. In time, the newborn parasites will feed and kill the larvae.

Matt Whitbeck, a biologist with Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, says it may be too late for some of the ash trees here.

"We really think it's going to be a heavy impact," Whitbeck said. "We know that it's not going to look the same and we know that we're not going to be able to preserve it in its existing state, but we want to be able to kind of smooth the transition as much as possible."

Whitbeck and Disque say, though the ash trees in the area will likely die, insecticides and replanting are some ways they're trying to slow the transition. With control over the Emerald Ash Borer population, they hope future generations of ash trees will be able to grow.

The Spathius agrili is one of three parasites Disque plans to release into the fall. In a couple years time, Disques says she'll return to the area to see if the population of the Emerald Ash Borer has declined or increased.

 

 

 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Seaford Man Charged with Home Improvement Fraud

    Seaford Man Charged with Home Improvement Fraud

    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:05 AM EST2019-02-17 05:05:59 GMT
    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:05 AM EST2019-02-17 05:05:59 GMT
    William ParlierWilliam Parlier
    William ParlierWilliam Parlier
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Seaford man on multiple count of home improvement fraud and related charges.More
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Seaford man on multiple count of home improvement fraud and related charges.More
  • Trailer Home Fire in Accomack County

    Trailer Home Fire in Accomack County

    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:51 AM EST2019-02-17 05:51:07 GMT
    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:51 AM EST2019-02-17 05:51:07 GMT
    Credit: Onancock Volunteer Fire DepartmentCredit: Onancock Volunteer Fire Department
    Credit: Onancock Volunteer Fire DepartmentCredit: Onancock Volunteer Fire Department
    Multiple fire stations responded to a trailer home fire in Accomack County on Saturday evening.More
    Multiple fire stations responded to a trailer home fire in Accomack County on Saturday evening.More
  • State Police Discover Meth Lab In Harrington

    State Police Discover Meth Lab In Harrington

    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:23 AM EST2019-02-17 05:23:47 GMT
    Sunday, February 17 2019 12:24 AM EST2019-02-17 05:24:30 GMT
    Delaware State Police arrest two men on multiple drug charges and one in connection with the operation of a meth lab.More
    Delaware State Police arrest two men on multiple drug charges and one in connection with the operation of a meth lab.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Saturday Morning Weather for February 16, 2019

    Saturday Morning Weather for February 16, 2019

    Light rain showers with mild temperatures for this weekend.

    More

    Light rain showers with mild temperatures for this weekend.

    More
  • Crisfield High School Nurse Arrested on Child Sex Charges

    Crisfield High School Nurse Arrested on Child Sex Charges

    A woman who worked as a school nurse at Crisfield High School & Academy has been arrested and charged with sexual offenses involving four high school students, Maryland State Police said Wednesday.

    Samantha Marsh, 33, of Crisfield, is charged with 10 counts of fourth-degree sex offense, four counts of perverted practice, four counts of contributing to the condition of a child and one count of attempted fourth-degree sex offense.

    More

    A woman who worked as a school nurse at Crisfield High School & Academy has been arrested and charged with sexual offenses involving four high school students, Maryland State Police said Wednesday.

    Samantha Marsh, 33, of Crisfield, is charged with 10 counts of fourth-degree sex offense, four counts of perverted practice, four counts of contributing to the condition of a child and one count of attempted fourth-degree sex offense.

    More
  • Locals in Salisbury React To Trump's National Emergency

    Locals in Salisbury React To Trump's National Emergency

    President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday after congress refused to completely fund his wall at the  U.S.-Mexico border. Congress approved a spending deal to avoid a shutdown, which did not include the $5.7 billion President Trump requested in border wall funding.

    Salisbury University Political Science Chair Adam Hoffman says the move may result in severe push back from democratic congressional leaders, and may even result in legal action.

    More

    President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday after congress refused to completely fund his wall at the  U.S.-Mexico border. Congress approved a spending deal to avoid a shutdown, which did not include the $5.7 billion President Trump requested in border wall funding.

    Salisbury University Political Science Chair Adam Hoffman says the move may result in severe push back from democratic congressional leaders, and may even result in legal action.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices