The Emerald Ash Borer: Coming Soon to a Community Near You

emeraldashborerThe Emerald Ash Borer is a small insect that is native to Russia and China. The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species that has the ability to move quickly through a population of trees. Over the last 12 years over 50 million Ash trees have been lost to the Emerald Ash Borer in the Eastern United States.  In Denver alone there is a population of 1.5 million Ash trees.The adult Ash Borers are not the dangerous borers, the adults merely eat some of the plant’s foliage causing a minimal amount of damage. However, the larvae destroy the trees vascular system by boring inside of the tree. Once the larvae destroy the tree’s vascular system, the tree is unable to move nutrients throughout it’s body. The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in Boulder for the first time about a year ago.

The discovery of the beetle in Boulder was both shocking and devastating to the state of Colorado. Professionals across the state have been formulating plans on how to face this invasion. Tree professionals have to decide which trees in their area are worth saving. Ash trees can be protected from the beetle by being treated with pesticides. However, the tree has to be healthy for the pesticides to ward off the beetles. There has recently been good news when it comes to the topic of beetles. The spread of the Emerald Ash Borer is moving much slower than expected, giving communities more time to treat trees and prepare.

You may be asking yourself what you can do to help combat the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. One way to prevent the spread of the beetle is to not transport firewood. You want to burn firewood where you buy it. The firewood can be infected with the beetle’s larvae and could be transferred into an unaffected area, contaminating ash trees and spreading the beetle further throughout the state. If you do spot a potentially infected tree contact the State Plant Health Director. Colorado’s State Plant Health Director is Pat McPerrren. If it is possible, take photos of the infestation and resulting damage that you witness.

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