Actually, they’re here. Emerald
Ash Borers have been devastating trees throughout the Midwest since they were identified in 2002, and recently
they have been identified as a major threat in New York, where—at 900 million—ash
trees are among the 5 most common trees, and where Adirondack baseball bats are
made. The little bright green bugs—Asian natives—burrow under the bark of trees
in their larval state, killing the trees within a few years. They’re easily
transported long distances in firewood; thus, they could kill all the ash trees
throughout the U.S., given time and opportunity.
This is something we all want to prevent, of course. So far,
I’m hearing of three different
approaches. There are the traps, which are triangular and colorful,
and lure the bugs inside with scent. Some kids in London, Ont. thought
these were art installations. There are several chemical injections, given at
long intervals (and can't be administered prematurely): I’ve heard of Tree-äge, Arbor-Jet, and some that seem to be
proprietary to the arborist who administers them. And then there is quarantine
stopping infected counties from sending wood to uninfected counties, as well as
“burn it where you buy it” advisories. Purdue
research in 2008 indicated a natural predator, but I don’t know what became of
I guess this is the type of extreme scenario that we’re
warned about when wholesale bans of pesticides are brought up. (That, and
bedbugs.) People in New York are scared about this one, and I hope it does not lead to a chemical free-for-all.
Posted by Elizabeth Licata on June 23, 2009 at 11:00 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.