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Virginia Tech Forest Entomology Lab

Hosted by the Forest Entomology Lab, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech

Research of selected non-native forest pests and development of tools for their management.


Lab member photos and lab focus subjects
Members of the 2021 Forest Entomology Lab at Virginia Tech and the forest pests and weeds currently being evaluated by our team.

Due to the global nature of our society, non-native species continue to enter the U.S. at an accelerating rate. Without the pressure from natural enemies found in their native range, these invasive pests can quickly build populations and spread into new regions. The damage they cause can lead to economic loss and create a disruption to ecosystems.

The Forest Entomology Lab at Virginia Tech is currently focused on evaluating several non-native species with an emphasis on population management using biological control. Biological control is a tool which uses natural enemies (predators, parasitoids, pathogens, and herbivores) to help manage the non-native pest. Our recent research includes several invasive species now found in the U.S., including:

  • THE HEMLOCK WOOLLY ADELGID (HWA), a devastating insect pest of eastern and Carolina hemlocks.
  • TREE OF HEAVEN (TOH), a noxious weed that displaces native vegetation in disturbed settings.
  • EMERALD ASH BORER (EAB), a killer of all native ash trees.

Rearing Laricobius nigrinus Coloring Sheet

This diagram explains the process of rearing Laricobius beetles in our lab. Laricobius beetles are important predators of hemlock woolly adelgid. After rearing Laricobius beetles in the lab, we ship them to the public land managers for release in the eastern United States. You can print this sheet and use it for coloring!

Biological Control Is...Super!! Coloring Sheet

Laricobius beetles are an important biological control for hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) in the eastern U.S. They have established and dispersed from release sites and are having an impact on HWA populations. Though we will need additional predators to fully manage HWA, we think Laricobius is super! You can print this sheet and use it for coloring!

Tree Identification Coloring Sheet

This sheet is a helpful tool for identifying common forest trees with leaves similar to tree-of-heaven (TOH). You can print and color this sheet and take it with you on forest walks to help identify the invasive TOH.

Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol Coloring Sheet

This diagram, which can be printed and colored, explains the general life cycle of the emerald ash borer and introduces you to some of its important parasitoids. (A parasitoid is an insect that lays its eggs on another arthropod; when the eggs hatch, the insect larvae feed and develop within the body of that arthropod.)

Biology and Control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

This document provides a comprehensive look at hemlock woolly adelgid and methods for managing its populations.

Laricobius osakensis Fact Sheet

Laricobius osakensis is a predatory beetle native to Japan that has been evaluated and released for management of hemolock woolly adelgid in the eastern U.S. This fact sheet describes its biology and information regarding its evaluations and releases.

Verticillium nonalfalfae

This fungus is a promising, naturally occurring biological herbicide which is being evaluated for tree-of-heaven management. This fact sheet describes the biology of both host and fungus and provides details regarding the use of Verticillium nonalfalfae as a biological control.

Lari Larvae

Leuco Larvae

Growing Verticillium nonalfalfae Across a Temperature Gradient

Forest Entomology Lab Logo

The Forest Entomology Lab at Virginia Tech studies forest insect and weed pests. The research questions we ask are driven by the nature of the pest problems that require us to study their biology and interactions with hosts and habitat. The goal is to develop tools and strategies to improve management for those pests.