Currently in one of our neighboring states there is a massive invasive tree pest epidemic taking place. The target, our ash trees, the culprit, the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. The invasive beetle is originally native to Asia and parts of Eastern Russia and primarily targets ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer was first discovered in America in June of 2002 in Michigan and has destroyed millions of ash trees throughout the Midwest. The total amount of trees destroyed by the beetle is believed to be approximately 200 million. The Emerald Ash Beetle is alleged to have been brought to America unintentionally in ash wood which was used to stabilize crates during shipping.
Right now Colorado is experiencing a significant problem with these pests. According to the state of Colorado’s Department of Agriculture, this is the western-most discovery of the beetle in North America. The epidemic in Colorado has gotten out of control and the state has issued emergency quarantines with fines up to $1000 for removing firewood from a quarantined area, to combat the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.
Emerald Ash Borer Effects
The Emerald Ash Borer can have significant effects on trees up to and including death. It only takes these little pests about a year or so to fully damage and kill the tree. The beetles damage and kill trees by disrupting the flow of nutrients as they head up the tree. In an infestation, bore holes and serpentine feeding galleries of the larvae basically disrupt the flow of nutrients as they rise up the trunk from the roots to the crown via the phloem (the tree’s vascular structures) just under the bark. Interestingly enough, the larvae are the most damaging part life stage of beetle; given the fact the larvae do the vascular boring. Without nutrients, the tree begins to decline and die back.
Prevention is the name of the game when controlling the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. It is possible to prevent the invasive pest through the use of systemic insecticides. Direct insecticide to the base of the tree, as well as deep root insecticide applications are proven to work effectively. In areas where the beetle are prevalent and do not have any natural enemies, prevention is one of the only options available.
Take A Look at Your Trees!
Make sure to take a look at your Ash trees in the following months to validate the bug has not reached our area. If you or someone you know sees or even hears of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle in the area, contact the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to report the incident and make sure our beautiful area does not become infested!!!!!!!!!