Our friends over the bridge in Superior can tell us what it’s like to battle a nasty infestation of the emerald ash borer. They’ve been at war with the pest for two years now. Although it hasn’t yet been detected in Duluth, officials here are keeping an eye out and claim it may just be a matter of time. In other words, they aren’t wondering if the beetle will invade Duluth, but when the war will begin.
“What we know is that emerald ash borer is a death sentence, basically, for all North American ash trees,” Minnesota Department of Agriculture entomologist Mark Abrahamson told nncnow.com’s Kati Anderson.
The city is home to about 3,000 boulevard ash trees so there’s a valid concern that they may, someday, have to be removed. The City of Blaine removed about 75 ash trees from the city’s parks and streets last year and plans to remove up to 7,000 over the next 10 years in a pre-emptive strike against an infestation. Apparently, replacing the trees, which are inexpensive, is less costly than treating them.
The emerald ash borer was first found in Ohio and experts suspect it came here from China about a decade ago. The pest is shiny and green and burrows into the ash tree’s bark which knocks out its vascular system so it is unable to transport nutrients to the canopy.
The emerald ash borer is a strong flyer so it easily moves from county to county and city to city. The pest is also spread by people that move firewood around the city or state.
Image: “Emerald Ash Borer Adult” by David Cappaert, Michigan State University. Flickr/ CC by 2.0