Biological Control

of Elm Pests

How do we control damaging insects that eat desirable plants, such as elm trees? Biological control is a helpful tactic for controlling an undesired pest using other organisms to consume the pest. Biological control allows us to suppress a pest's population using its "natural enemies" without spraying chemical insecticides, which are expensive, drift into non-target areas, harm pollinators and other beneficial insects, and cause unforseen outbreaks of other pests.

My research identified insect natural enemies of two pests of elm trees, elm leaf beetle (Xanthogaleruca luteola) and elm flea weevil (Orchestes steppensis). By identifying and documenting the bugs that eat elm pests, we are one step closer to using sustainable biological control and keeping these insects at manageable levels.

Publications:

Buenrostro J, Cooke C, Hufbauer R (2022). New records of elm leaf beetle (Xanthogaleruca luteola) parasitoids in Colorado with notes on predators. Southwestern Entomologist, 47(4).

Buenrostro J, Cooke C, Hufbauer R. Complex of parasitoids reared from the introduced elm pest Orchestes steppensis in western North America (manuscript in progress)

Presentations:

Buenrostro J, Cooke C, Hufbauer R (2022). The heat is on! Elm pests and their parasitoids have unique relationships with urban habitats. Entomological Society of America, Joint Annual Meeting. Vancouver, BC

Buenrostro J (2022). It's a bug-eat-bug world: can we use insects to control damaging elm pests? CSU Speaks, an event by CSU Science in Action. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins

We are currently digging into some exciting findings! Check back soon for updates, and be on the lookout for some publications on this work in the coming months.


A leaf mine containing a developing elm flea weevil. Several parasitoids can attack the weevil in its leaf mine. Photo by Autumn Nicoson.

Erynniopsis antennata, a parasitoid of elm leaf beetle larvae. Jack Kelly Clark, University of California - Statewide IPM Program, Bugwood.org


Elm leaf beetle eggs. The egg parasitoid Oomyzus gallerucae, a eulophid wasp, is known to attack elm leaf beetle eggs in some regions. Photo by Autumn Nicoson.