Since first being discovered in American in 2002, the green beetle, also known as the emerald ash borer, has devastated millions of ash trees throughout the country, especially our community in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Although native to Asia, this invasive species has spread itself through many parts of the country and is thought to have been introduced through shipping materials from abroad.

The adult female emerald ash borer lays its eggs in cracks and crevices on the bark of ash trees. Once hatched it is the larval feeding that causes the destruction. They chew through the bark whilst feeding and developing and leave long snake-like holes trailing through the tree. When fully grown they will then chew through to the outside of the tree leaving a distinctive D-shaped exit hole. The long trailing holes left by the larva disrupt the ash trees ability to hold water and nutrients. This plus the stripping of the bark can end up killing the tree.

Within its native area, the emerald ash borer is suppressed by predators and naturally resistant trees. Outside of its native area there are no such things to stop the population growing and the disease spreading. This is an extremely serious problem as left unchecked all ash trees in an infected area can be wiped out within 10 years. Of the 8.7 billion ash trees in North America all are under threat from being affected by this invasive insect.

Emerald ash borer is being closely monitored in known areas as well as areas where it has not yet been detected. When an infestation is discovered the area is quarantined to help stop it spreading. Infected trees are being removed, especially from urban areas and insecticides are being used to try and combat the beetle.

One of the main ways the disease is being spread is through firewood. There are now many restrictions in place to ensure any wood from affected areas cannot be transported. Some states have completely banned the moving of any ash trees, branches, firewood or products made from ash. These regulations have been put it place to help control spread and hopefully keep it limited to already affected areas. Members of the public are told not to transport firewood with some places having check points outside of places like campsites; a place people often transport firewood to.

Quick detection of emerald ash borer being present can reduce the spread as fast quarantine can limit the problem so anyone seeing the previously mentioned trails and holes in ash trees should immediately contact the relevant authorities.

Ash trees are really important to us and the environment. They provide a strong, durable wood and are used to make products such as baseball bats, tool handles and furniture. The leaves and seeds of the ash trees are food for a number of caterpillars, moths and butterflies. The white ash provides food for lots of bird species too.

This beautiful species of tree is being devastated by this invasive beetle and if not managed correctly could completely wipe them out.  Make sure you familiarize yourself by learning and knowing what to look for and never transporting any ash or ash products.