Date of Award

Fall 2018

Project Type


Program or Major

Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Donald S Chandler

Second Advisor

Alan T Eaton

Third Advisor

John F Burger


Cerceris fumipennis is a colonial wasp that preferentially preys on native and non-native members of the family Buprestidae including the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, which is a major threat to North American ash (Fraxinus spp.). Cerceris fumipennis has been used for bio-surveillance of this destructive pest because it catches, stings, and paralyzes buprestids that are then easily intercepted at their nests and documented.

Two large aggregations of C. fumipennis in Merrimack County, NH, USA were monitored during the summer of 2013 and 2014 to determine regional baseline information on aggregation activity, seasonality, paralyzation rate, and prey preference in different forest types for New Hampshire to aid in determining the efficacy of C. fumipennis as a bio-surveillance tool. The 2013 field season determined that emergence of wasps appears to be synchronous, with 200 females emerging over a 15 day span. There were 890 individual buprestids collected from females returning to their nests, and their prey species consisted of 33 buprestid species and one chrysomelid. In 2014, individuals of eleven of these species were brought to the nest without being successfully paralyzed. This non-paralyzation occurred in 11% of the total collected prey. These data showed little correlation between percent coniferous and deciduous trees and the collected prey’s preferred feeding hosts. Factors such as lack of host tree specificity in the family Buprestidae, age of forests, diseases, and other environmental conditions could have led to this lack of correlation.

Research should continue to assure and guide government and non-governmental agencies that use of Cerceris fumipennis in bio-surveillance of this destructive invasive species and other non-native threats is an effective monitoring tool and can assist in documenting species that are difficult to survey as well as local buprestid diversity.