Exotic pest found in Ohio ash trees

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – Emerald Ash Borer, an exotic pest from Asia, has been found in ash trees in Lucas County, Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture and federal officials.

The borer poses a threat to one of Ohio’s most rapidly growing woodland trees, also known as a popular urban shade tree.

An infestation by the beetles kills the typical ash tree within two to three years.

A task force has been formed to stop the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, which could pose a threat to the approximately 3.8 billion ash trees in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The state is also authorized to issue a quarantine on the movement of ash trees and timber in the county. As of March 3, a decision had not been issued.

Some healthy trees can fight off the pest, but infestations are fatal in most cases.

Four properties. Surveys of the area in Lucas County reportedly found signs of the pest on four properties in a 300-yard-by-300-yard area.

Trees on all the properties showed signs of infestation.

These symptoms include die-back in the upper third of the tree, D-shaped exit holes in the bark, vertical splits in the bark and serpentine-shaped tunnels beneath the bark in the cambium.

Assurance? “Nothing will give us the assurance of control in an infested area except to cut, chip and properly dispose of trees,” said Tom Harrison, ODA Plant Pest Control manager.

There is no practical insecticide treatment, he said.

Michigan and Ontario have been infested by the borer for the last five years, where it has killed millions of ash trees, according to the agriculture department.

Ash wood is used to make tool handles and baseball bats.

The Emerald Ash Borer belongs to a group of insects known as metallic wood-boring beetles. Adults are dark metallic green in color, 1/2 inch in length and 1/16 inch wide, and are present from mid-May until late July.

Larvae are creamy white in color.

New information. Until now, experts thought the pest could not be confirmed until it emerged into its adult stage. The larvae collected from a residence near Toledo, however, was positively identified by USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Services Laboratory Feb. 26.

The following day, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist confirmed the identity of an adult Emerald Ash Borer from the same location after having it artificially hatch.

Reports. To report signs of the borer, call the local Ohio State University Extension office or the ODA Division of Plant Industry at 800-282-1955.

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