See emerald ash borers in action; states still battling the bug

By Rachael Gleason, Great Lakes Echo

Now is the best time to see the destructive, tree-eating emerald ash borer up close and personal.

The emerald ash borer threatens more than 7 billion ash trees in the United States. Photo: United States Department of Agriculture

The inch-long green metallic beetles are most numerous from late June to mid July, according to the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network. But don’t be fooled by lookalikes. Here’s a guide for proper identification of the nasty nuisance.

Officials have banned imported firewood, removed ash trees and even released tiny wasps to prevent them from overwhelming the region with little luck; the beetle has spread to all Great Lakes states over the past decade.

New insecticide treatments may hold promise, according to recent Ohio State University research.

An insecticide called Safari, when applied in certain parts of Ohio ash trees, reduced canopy loss caused by the beetles eating through channels that carry water and nutrients throughout the tree, according to a recent Columbus Dispatch article.

Researchers know more about the emerald ash borer since its 2002 arrival in Michigan, but even with the right combination of insecticides and applications, an infestation is still difficult to stop, according to the article.

Here’s how other states are battling the bug:

  • Minnesota officials turned to tiny wasps that target emerald ash borer eggs and larvae to prevent infestations; they just released 2,500 wasps in St. Paul.
  • The emerald ash borer quickly spread all eight Great Lakes states; now it’s causing more widespread infestations in Indiana and Illinois counties.
  • Toronto, Ontario officials held a series of public meetings last month to discuss their emerald ash borer problem; a study says the bug could wipe out roughly a million ash trees by 2017.

Editor’s note: The emerald ash borer earned Echo’s title of most destructive terrestrial invasive species during the second Great Lakes SmackDown!contest.

© 2011, Great Lakes Echo, Michigan State University Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *