By: Eli Cason
School: Cuba Middle School, Missouri
The Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a new problem to the Americas. Introduced just prior to 2002, it is believed that these exotic beetles came on a ship from Asia carrying ash wood boxes. They were first recorded in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002. The Emerald Ash Borer has been positively identified in 15 states since then. These 15 states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an Asian beetle, usually ½ inch long and 1/8 inch wide. The top of an adult EAB is a metallic green, and the underside is an emerald green (hence Emerald Ash Borer). They are a bullet like shape as adults, and are flat and white as larvae. The larvae are actually the deadly ones. They eat inside the bark, where water is carried through the trunk, cutting off water movement, killing the tree.
The Emerald Ash Borer kills every kind of native Ash to Missouri, and Missouri is almost 3% ash in the wild, 14% of street trees, and 23% in urban parks. Green, white, blue, pumpkin, and many hybrid ash combinations are at risk. EAB also doesn’t kill just saplings, or weaker, older trees. All ash, new, old, and everything in between, can die from EAB. This means many healthy trees die, too.
The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in the Kansas City area, near the Ozarks, Platte County, Reynolds County, and in Wayne County. To stop the spread of EAB, it is recommended to never take ash wood or trees out of infested or possibly infested areas. It is also recommended to never bring out of state ash into another state. This limits how far EAB can infest, because they usually only fly several hundred yards at most to lay eggs, depending on food availability. A female will eat a hole in the bark of an ash tree, and plant one egg in each tree.
There are very few ways to stop Emerald Ash Borer from spreading, let alone get rid of them. One of the possible solutions is cut down any ash trees that has any sign of EAB at any time, cut down about a mile of ash around them, and then check the recent logs for signs of EAB activity. If you find any, repeat the process. This will get a lot of ash wood for wood works since ash is common for flooring and furniture. Keep this area ash free for a few years, and then replant ash trees in that area. Then don’t bring infested or possibly infested wood to the area.
The Emerald Ash Borer isn’t just a local problem, it is a worldwide problem. EAB is found in some Asian countries, and is a threat to invade almost any country that has a population of ash trees.
My plan to get this story to the public is to submit it to the local newspaper, and possibly sumbit it to my states department of conservation.