We conducted a 3-yr study to compare the susceptibility of selected North American ash and an Asian ash species to emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, an invasive wood-boring beetle introduced to North America from Asia. Because of a coevolutionary relationship between Asian ashes and emerald ash borer, we hypothesized an Asian ash species, Manchurian ash, is more resistant to the beetle than its North American congeners. Consistent with our hypothesis, Manchurian ash experienced far less mortality and yielded far fewer adult beetles than several cultivars of North American green and white ash. Surprisingly, a black ash (North American) × Manchurian ash hybrid was highly susceptible to emerald ash borer, indicating this cultivar did not inherit emerald ash borer resistance from its Asian parent. A corollary study investigated the efficacy of soil-applied imidacloprid, a systemic, neonicotinoid insecticide, for controlling emerald ash borer in each of the five cultivars. Imidacloprid had no effect on emerald ash borer colonization of Manchurian ash, which was low in untreated and treated trees. In contrast, imidacloprid did enhance survival of the North American and hybrid cultivars and significantly reduced the number of emerald ash borer adults emerging from green and white ash cultivars. We identify a possible mechanism of resistance of Manchurian ash to emerald ash borer, which may prove useful for screening, selecting, and breeding emerald ash borer-resistant ash trees.
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