US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Therese Poland collecting bark beetles from a Lindgren multiple funnel trap

Therese M. Poland

Project Leader / Research Entomologist
3101 Technology Blvd., Ste. F
United States

Phone: 517-884-8062
Fax: 517-355-5121
Contact Therese M. Poland

Current Research

My current research is focused on detection and control of invasive forest insect pests, particularly the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). EAB is a phloem-feeding beetle native to Asia that was discovered in Detroit, MI, and Windsor, Ontario in July 2002. It has caused widespread decline and mortality of ash (Fraxinus sp.).

Initially, very little was known about EAB, and the only means to detect and control infestations was to locate infested trees based on visual symptoms and then destroy the trees by cutting them down, chipping them, and burning the chips.

My research objectives are to investigate several aspects of EAB biology, including its seasonal development, semiochemical ecology, dispersal capabilities, within-tree distribution, and host finding and mating behavior. I am also investigating control methods, such as the use of systemic insecticides and biological control with natural enemies.

Research Interests

I plan to continue conducting research that addresses four strategies for managing invasive species:
  • predicting and preventing establishment of invasive pests,
  • detecting and eradicating invasive pests,
  • managing and controlling invasives, and
  • restoring landscapes affected by invasives.
  • Preventing establishment offers the most promise for protecting forested landscapes from environmental and economic losses due to invasive species. Early detection is critical for effective eradication and management of new infestations. Much of my research involves developing new trapping tools for detection and monitoring of invasive species, including identification of insect- and host-produced volatile attractants and testing new trap designs.   New  tools are needed to manage and control infestations, including biological, chemical, and cultural control for exotic forest insect pests.  I am conducting research to evaluate the efficacy of systemic insecticides and am collaborating on research to determine the establishment and impact of natural enemies for biological control of emerald ash borer.  I am also collaborating on research to determine emerald ash borer preferences and perforamance on potentially resistant ash species or cultivars that could be used to restore ash in forests decimated by emerald ahs borer.

    Past Research

    I have conducted research on other invasive forest pests including the pine shoot beetle and the Asian longhorned beetle.  I investigated the chemical ecology of the pine shoot beetle including development of improved attractive lures, and inhibition of attraction using non-host volatiles.  I also studied dispersal of pine shoot beetle and its phenology across a north/south gradient.  Research on the Asian longhorned beetle included field and laboratory evaluation of the toxicity of systemic insecticides and development of an acoustic detection system  to locate infested trees.

    Why This Research is Important

    Exotic forest insects such as EAB threaten North American forests and natural resources. Native trees lack co-evolved defense mechanisms and exotic pests often invade without their associated natural enemies. Interactions of invasive pests with native ecosystems are unknown. Information on the biology, detection and management of invasive species is critical for protecting native forests and natural resources


    • Simon Fraser University, Ph.D. 1997
    • Simon Fraser University, M.P.M. 1993
    • Simon Fraser University, B.Sc. 1988

    Professional Experience

    • Research Entomologist, USDA Forest Service
      1997 - Current
      conduct research on economically important forest insect pests
    • Research Assistant, PheroTech, Inc.
      1997 - 1997
      conduct research on semiochemical-based management of forest insect pests
    • Research Assistant, Theodor D. Sterling and Associates, Ltd.
      1987 - 1991
      technical assistant for environmental health research

    Professional Organizations

    • Entomological Society of America
    • Entomological Society of Canada
    • Michigan Entomological Society
    • Entomological Society of British Columbia

    Awards & Recognition

    • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2004
      For innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and for exceptional potential to shape the future through intellectual and inspired leadership
    • Chief's Honor Award for Early Career Scientists, 2002
      For innovative and timely research on newly detected exotic forest insects that allows USDA APHIS to formulate Federal quarantines based on sound science

    Featured Publications & Products


    Research Highlights


    Building a Better Bug Trap

    Recent research identified attractive pheromones for several species of wood boring beetles that may threaten forest health. Forest Service ento ...


    Optimizing Trap Designs for Emerald Ash Borer

    Since the discovery of emerald ash borer in North America in 2002, the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Agency and state regulatory agencies ...


    Reducing Negative Cultural Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer: Saving Black Ash Wood for Native American Basketmakers

    Black ash has great cultural and economic importance in the northeastern United States, especially for Native Americans. The widespread destruc ...


    Scientists Determine the Chemistry Between Ash Trees and Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

    What makes some ash species so susceptible to emerald ash borer and others less susceptible


    Last updated on : 10/19/2016