Project Green: Asian beetles cause tree damage in Kentuckiana


by Ben Pine

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 5:54 PM

(WHAS11)-  A little critter is killing millions of trees just to our north. 
It is called the Emarald Ash Borer and the small half-inch beetle could soon cause big problems here in Kentuckiana.
The Emerald Ash Borer is native to Asia, but they were first found in the U.S. in eastern Michigan around the year 2002.
“Since 2002, it has passed down to 13 or 14 different states.  It's in this area, Jefferson County, Oldham County and some of the surrounding counties," said Arborist Jason Sharnan.
The population of the beetles is still low around here, but experts say it will explode in a few years, possibly causing a widespread decline of untreated ash trees.
"This is a great time to be proactive in treating their healthy ash trees," said Sharnan.
So, how do you know if your ash trees need treatment? 

Look in the canopy for dead branches, fewer leaves and vertical cracks in the trunk and for sprouts or shoots at the base of the tree. All signs the beetle might be inside.
The treatment requires an infusion of chemicals, which can get expensive.  In fact, hundreds of dollars are spent per treatment, and it only lasts two years.

Experts say the spread of the Emarld Ash Borer is inevitable, but you can help slow it down. 

You may have already seen the advertisements on billboards and on the back of buses, telling you to keep firewood at home.
"When you move this wood, especially firewood, you're actually transporting those insects longer distances and you're increasing their rate of spread," said Jody Thompson, Kentucky Division of Forestry.
Arborists are trapping and keeping an eye out for the unfortunate invasion of Emerald
Ash Borers, and you can to by learning more about this devastating little beetle. 

Some helpful links:

International Society of Arboriculture 
Kentucky Arborists Association  
Kentucky’s Office of the State Entomologist   
College of Agriculture
Emerald Ash Borer