In the city of Cincinnati, there has been a problem with an insect called the emerald ash borer. It was not originally found in the state of Ohio. It is the result of an accidental transference, originating from a northeastern Asia forest. This particular beetle feeds upon what is called the ash tree. It is capable of killing not only one tree effectively, but migrating to hundreds or even thousands of them to cause substantial damage. These can be found in parts of North America and Europe, and due to their devastating effects, they have been trying to figure out ways of preventing them from spreading. Let’s look at the problem that is currently plaguing the forests in Cincinnati and what they are attempting to do to control the problem.
These beetles can grow to about 8.5 mm in length. They can be a dark or metallic green color, and those in North America will have a bright red abdomen. The lifecycle is about two years, and during this time they will deposit eggs in the bark. Once they are in, the larvae will begin to hatch and chew through the tree which is what causes the damage. As they are feeding, they will continue to grow and then spread to other trees. This is how vast areas of a forest that specifically have ash trees can be devastated so quickly.
What Is The Problem In Cincinnati?
Cincinnati has experienced a terrible problem with these beetles. They have killed millions of ash trees. According to statistics, they are spreading at a rate that is 40 times faster than before. It has spread from the greater Cincinnati area, spanning all the way to the northern parts of Kentucky. If you are driving down I 75, on your way to Walton, you will see an enormous number of ash trees that have been killed. They are easy to identify based upon the serpentine etchings that are in the tree, indicating that there was an infestation.
How To Know If An Ash Tree Is Infected?
One of the problems they are facing is that ash trees do not initially look sick. Often it can take as much as three years for the tree to die once it has been infested. They will remain healthy looking the first year, but soon you will notice the leaves beginning to look very strange. There will be missing areas in the canopy where the leaves have apparently not grown, and once 35% of the tree has been infested, it will not recover.
How Are They Treating This Problem?
Since this issue was first reported in 2006, seven local counties have been infested. It’s easy to tell where the trees have been as the trees will have no leaves, looking dead all the way to the top. Now spreading at about 40 miles per year, up from a quarter-mile a year just a few years ago, there is great concern about the ash trees that are remaining. They are beginning to treat the problem slowly with tree injections. A Cincinnati tree service company will administer trunk injections with insecticides that will not only kill the bugs but also kill the eggs. By destroying the eggs, the spread of this infestation can be eliminated much more quickly, and this particular plan has been 97% effective. They are telling the people of Cincinnati that have ash trees on their property that they must treat their trees right away, or they could end up dying, and they will have the added expense of having to remove them once they are dead.
This is a problem that did not exist roughly ten years ago. This is evidence of how easily modern transportation and commerce can play a role in adversely affecting nature. If this problem is not handled in the next few years, there could be hundreds of square miles of dead ash trees as a result of these emerald ash borers. Those that are in Cincinnati are well aware of this problem, and many people have taken the time to have the injections done. Hopefully, in the next few years, this debilitating problem for ash trees will be eliminated by finally handling the emerald ash borer problem.