Wasps unleashed in Maryland to fight invasive pest

The stingless wasps are smaller than fruit flies. (Stephen Ausmus/U.S. Department of Agriculture)

WASHINGTON – There are pests coming after some area trees and a local agriculture department is bringing in wasps to fight them.

Dick Bean with the Maryland Department of Agriculture says the stingless wasps attack the eggs of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species that threatens ash trees anywhere it goes.

“If left unchecked, it has the potential to completely wipe out all of the ash trees in the United States,” Bean says. “So far, we’ve made releases in Prince George’s County, Charles County, Howard County, Washington County and Allegheny.”

Bean says the process will not yield immediate results.

“It’s not like going out and spraying a pesticide where you see immediate knockdown,” he says.

The wasps have been put out in several rounds since 2009. Bean says they aren’t anything to worry about.

“You could probably put three of these on the back of a fruit fly,” he says. “They are extremely small. They do not sting.”

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow Max Smith and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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