The Emerald Ash Borer, first identified in Detroit, Michigan in 2002, was thought to have been brought here from packaging material from Asia. This borer is now considered a serious destructive threat to this country's Ash tree species. Since 2002, EAB has killed 30 million Ash trees in the state of Michigan and tens of millions in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It has a potential to eliminate this entire species of trees.
All of western New York is currently in a quarantine area, which means, that this insect has already invaded and infested ash trees in our state. First spotted in Randolph, NY, it is moving rapidly throughout the state. This threat could more devastating than the Dutch Elm Disease, since New York State has the largest natural generation of ash trees in the entire United States. We have all learned our lesson about planting mono-cultures; however, this is a much different threat in that our forests are now at risk, which also includes our urban forest. Moving of firewood and mulch has been most problematic since the borer can even survive the chipping process.
A short summary about this borer: it can fly; it feeds on ash foliage, lays its eggs in bark crevasses and branches. When the eggs hatch the larva bores through the bark into the phloem (vascular system) which transfers food throughout the tree. The larva then feeds on this fluid and serpentines around the trunk area until their paths cut off the trees food supply. When mature, they emerge through a D shaped exit hole and continue their life cycle. Tree symptoms equate to "branch die back" to total death.
What can we do??? Scientists, entomologists, plant pathologists, foresters, and arborists have been studying many different ways to combat this threat. There are several different theories. There are products on the market that can be injected into the tree that will protect it from the infestation. Scientists are also studying certain predatory insects and biological controls or just letting mother-nature take its course!!
Learn more about this serious destructive threat to our ash trees and a few other invasive insects at the second free informational seminar on Pest Alerts at the Marcy Casino at Delaware Park tonight February 23th @ 6pm hosted by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.