Even as winter closes in, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle continues to be a threatening nuisance to states across the East Coast, destroying ash trees and jacking up the price of firewood. Now it has spread to new states and Canada, sparking renewed efforts to keep it contained.
As of late last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the concentrated presence of EAB parts of Quebec. Disturbingly, this discovery is well outside regulated boundaries, marking Canada's first case of the invasive insects breaking through pre-established quarantines.
And while the EAB is relatively new to North America, first showing up in 2002, the United States and the Canadian regions of Ontario and Quebec have already been deeply affected by the harmful eastern Asian beetle.
23 states, largely in the eastern US along the East Coast, are currently being affected by the tiny green beetle. And while the adult EAB itself is not a huge problem, its larvae feed just below an ash tree's bark, interfering with the plant's water and nutrient uptake and causing it to die.
•Thinning or yellowing of foliage
•Fissures in bark, 5-10 cm in length
•Woodpecker activity, as the birds strip away bark to get at the beetles
•D-shaped holes, 3mm in diameter, produced by emerging adults
Many trees die within 2-3 years
Because the EAB has little-to-no natural predators in North America, it's free to reproduce en masse,
posing a serious threat to the ash tree industry.
A firewood quarantine is thought to provide the best chance for slowing the spread. However, for states that have already seen what the EAB can do, a quarantine just doesn't seem enough.
It's tough on Ash trees in Europe as well, with Ash Die-back fungus spreading and killing millions of the trees over there. So far there is little that can be done to stop the advance of either the beetles or the fungus.