Research Project Keeps A Close Eye on Wasps 

Wasps to the rescue, of Maine’s forests.That’s what a UMaine graduate student is hoping for.She’s keeping a close eye on some potentially very helpful wasps as a research project.”We’re watching the wasps and seeing what they’re bringing back for prey and also taking a bunch of different weather variable measurements.”Graduate student, Tawny Virgilio has established a theater for bio-surveillance at the Dedham Elementary School, along with other sites throughout the state.”These wasps are a lot more efficient at bringing back prey than any of our traps are at collecting these types of beetles.”These particular wasps prey on colored beetles, similar in appearance and behavior to the Emerald Ash Borer, which hasn’t been found in Maine yet. But foresters believe they could be on the way.They are known to destroy ash stands rapidly.”The Emerald Ash Borer is a pretty devastating, invasive insect from Asia that’s come over and done quite a lot of damage in Michigan, New York, Canada and fifteen states in the United States now.”Virgilio is using cups to slow down the wasps.”So she’s taking the time they leave their nests to the time when they return and whether or not they have prey.”Virgilio says there are misconceptions out there about these wasps.”It’s Cerceris Fumipennis species, most people call them ground nesters. they don’t sting or bite. They’re incapable of stinging people, they sting the beetles but they’re definitely helping us out a lot.”Watching to see whether the wasps bring back colored beetles will help determine where the Ash Borer may populate, should it move to Maine.