Wasp Watchers Program, University of Minnesota
Wasp Watchers finding Emerald Ash Borer!
Company: Wasp Watchers Program, University of Minnesota
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Location: Local baseball/softball fields, Throughout Minnesota,, St. Paul, MN, 55108
Project Details
After capturing a wasp carrying a beetle, volunteers can examine the beetle to determine if it is Emerald Ash Borer.

Wasp Watchers in looking for volunteers to help monitor Smoky winged beetle bandit wasp, Cerceris fumipennis, nesting sites. These wasps hunt and capture wood boring beetles including Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). With the help of these wasps, we can detect EAB infestations early. Early detection is the key to controlling these invasive beetles. Find out more information at the Wasp Watchers website. We need volunteers to: Visit your adopted site 4-6 hot, sunny afternoons in July and early August. Visit site during Beetle bandit peak flight time; between 10am and 4pm. Count nests. Beetle bandits are solitary wasps, but the females nest close to each other. There can be 5-100 nests in one area. Gather dropped beetles. Beetle bandits often abandon their prey if they are threatened or think that their prey is somehow damaged. You can often find these abandoned beetles near the nesting sites. Collect these dropped beetles in a vial and label your findings. For 1-3 hours monitor nests for returning wasps. Observe as many nests as you can watch. Watch for wasps coming in with prey. You will soon be able to recognize the bottom-heavy silhouette and slow, heavy flight of a wasp with prey. Gently net the wasp returning with prey. Use a lightweight mesh net so you do not hurt the wasp. The shock of netting will usually cause the wasp to drop her prey. Place captured beetles in a vial and label your findings. Collect a total of 50 beetles over 4-6 visits. Rule of thumb: Capture the equivalent (or less) of one beetle per wasp hole per search day. Place all beetles in label vials (provided by the U of MN) and put into freezer until the end of the summer. After each collection day, enter your data at the Wasp Watchers website. In the fall, send the collected beetles to the University of Minnesota in a postage paid box for identification.

General requirements


  • Must be at least 6
  • 1-2 hours a week for 6 weeks in the summer
  • Youth participants are welcome with adult supervision.  Transportation to sites is required.
  • Category
    Skills Area
    Environmental Education
    Environmental Policy
    Environmental Science
    Habitat Restoration