Where is Emerald Ash Borer Now? What Can You Do to Stop It?
WHERE IS EAB NOW?
Emerald ash borer has been found in 35 states and 5 Canadian provinces in North America so far. For a small beetle that is hard to see and even harder to find, it’s covered a lot of territory since its initial find in Michigan in 2002.
How did this happen? For the most part, it’s all about us humans. As a species, we don’t tend to sit still very long. There are things to do, people to see, places to go. And wherever we go, whether we know it or not, we take others with us. Some of them are familiar, like family members, friends, our pets, etc. Others are just hitching a ride, unseen and unfamiliar, on our bodies, clothing, vehicles, and the like.
And that’s how emerald ash borer came to be known in North America. EAB-infested ash wood pallets from Asia used when shipping products to the United States and Canada are one way the pest entered North America. The pallets were distributed, the larvae in the pallets hatched, and eventually the beetle was taking up residence in ash trees in the surrounding area.
Recently, I heard from a person who worked at a business just outside of Detroit about 20 years ago where goods on ash pallets were delivered. These pallets were piled up behind the company’s building, and employees were urged to take home as many as they wanted.
“Now I wonder if that’s how EAB could have been spread back in the 90s,” this person said. It’s very probable. EAB larvae buried in those ash pallets eventually morphed into beetles and flew to the nearest ash trees.
To date, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in our forests, woodlands and communities. Trees are important for their ability to store carbon, provide oxygen, give life to wildlife, and provide us with materials for homes and tools. The more trees we lose, the more difficult it is provide these resources.
NOT MOVING FIREWOOD IS ONE WAY TO STOP EAB!
Ash trees are the EAB’s number one favorite food. In fact, if given a choice it’s the only thing they are drawn to. They mate on ash trees, lay their eggs on them, hatch and burrow under the bark, then eat the layer of phloem there, which is the living tissue that feeds the tree its nutrients. This damages the ash tree’s circulatory system. The more EAB that infest the tree, the worse it gets. Soon the tree starts dying.
When that happens, the tree is cut down and often used as firewood. Sometimes, there may still be live larvae hiding in the wood. Back when EAB was relatively unknown, numerous new finds of the pest were in or near campgrounds and vacation homes where EAB-infested ash firewood had come from an EAB infested area. Then – like the used pallets – the hatched out of that firewood and made itself at home in the nearest ash trees.
So what do you do? The Don’t Move Firewood website has some great suggestions, including: “If you’re a camper heading out for a trip — or just getting firewood for your wood stove — do nature a favor. Don’t move firewood long distances — it can potentially transport invasive species. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, buy certified heat-treated firewood — or gather on site where permitted. The forests, and your great-great-grandkids, will thank you.”
There is more information about EAB and ash trees on this website. Learn more about what you can do to slow down the spread of this pest.
by: Robin Usborne
#EAB #ashtrees #invasivespecies #firewood
Next: Emerald Ash Borer University starts another session October 2019