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

Therese M. Poland

Acting Director, LRESR
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, including the emerald ash borer (EAB) and other bark- and wood-boring beetles. 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.  Bark- and wood-boring beetles are among the most destructive forest insect pests.

My research objectives are to develop improved detection and trapping tools for EAB and other bark- and wood-boring beetles.  I am also investigating control methods for EAB, such as the use of systemic insecticides, biological control with natural enemies, and development of integrated area-wide management programs for EAB.

Poland, Therese M.; Rassati, Davide. 2018. Improved biosecurity surveillance of non-native forest insects: a review of current methods. Journal of Pest Science. 19(Suppl): 3365-.

Research Interests

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.   Early detection is critical for effective eradication and management of new infestations.  I am conducting research to develop improved traps for detection of emerald ash borer and new trapping and survey protocols for broad-range detection of bark- and wood-boring beetles.  New  tools are needed to manage and control established populations of invasive species. Management approaches include chemical, cultural, and biological control.  I am conducting research to evaluate the efficacy of systemic insecticides for controlling emerald ash borer 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 performance 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.

Poland, Therese M.; Haack, Robert A.; Petrice, Toby R.; Miller, Deborah L.; Bauer, Leonora S.; Gao, Ruitong. 2006. Field Evaluations of Systemic Insecticides for Control of Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in China. J. Econ. Entomol. 99(2): 383-392 (2006)

Why This Research is Important

With ever-increasing world trade and travel, the number of exotic insect introductions in the United States has been escalating in recent years. The majority of these exotic invaders are wood-infesting insects that arrive in solid wood packing materials such as pallets and containers.  Economically-important invasive insects in North America may not be pests in their country of origin due to the existence of natural enemies and resistance in native host species that co-evolved in the native range. Invasive 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
  • Chief's Honor Award for International Forestry, 2002
    For cooperative research with Chinese entomologists on forest insects of mutual concern, including the Asian longhorned beetle and the pine shoot beetle. Awarded as a member of the 5-member invasive species research team.
  • North Central Research Station Technology Transfer Award, 1999
    For excellence in developing and transferring new knowledge on the pine shoot beetle to USDA APHIS for the formulation of new federal quarantine regulations. Awarded as a member of the 5-member pine shoot beetle research team.

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 ...


Control of Emerald Ash Borer with Systemic Insecticides

Several systemic insecticide products were evaluated to determine toxicity to emerald ash borer (EAB) adults and larvae and were found to provid ...


Controlling Emerald Ash Borer and Preserving Black Ash for Native American Basketmaking

Emerald ash borer threatens the survival of all ash species in North America. The black ash tree has great cultural significance to Native Ameri ...


Functional Genomics of Emerald Ash Borer: Identifying Odor Processing Genes and Gene Blocking for Alternative Pest Management

The emerald ash borer (EAB) has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America since its discovery in 2002 and threatens the entire a ...


Green Ash Trees That Survive Beetle Infestation Pass on Their Resistance Through Propagation and Planting

Among the tens of millions of trees killed by the emerald ash borer (EAB), researchers have found a small number of trees that survived their as ...


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


Slow ash mortality approach reduces emerald ash borer numbers

The Emerald ash borer (EAB) is the most destructive forest insect pest that ever invaded North America. It has killed hundreds of millions of a ...


Last updated on : 09/01/2021