green bug 300WESTERN KY (3/29/13) – A 1/2-inch long dark metallic green beetle is responsible for the loss of tens of thousands of ash trees across northern and central Kentucky.
 
The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, a native to Asia, was first documented in the state in 2009.
 
"The emerald ash borer has now spread to 21 Kentucky counties at a minimum," said Jody Thompson, an environmental scientist with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. "From three years of trap data, University of Kentucky researchers found that one of the largest (infestations) and potentially oldest is in the northern Franklin and Shelby County area."
 
Adult beetles emerge in late spring from May to early June and feed on ash leaves. After mating occurs, females lay 60 to 90 eggs on a nearby ash tree.
 
It's the larvae, the immature stage of the beetle, causing the damage from feeding on the inner bark (phloem) and disrupting the tree's ability to transport sugars and other nutrients.
 
"If enough of the flow is cut, the tree will stress and eventually die," said Thompson.
 
The most reliable signs of this beetle are the D-shaped holes in the bark from which adults emerge. Another sign is finding an adult beetle. Infested trees often exhibit a discoloration of the bark as woodpeckers try to get at the larvae. Branches in the tree's canopy die and sometimes suckers grow from the tree's trunk.
 
Typically, it takes about two years for a mature ash tree to succumb to the emerald ash borer. Ash trees in cities and suburbs are just as vulnerable as those in rural woodlands.
 
Ben Robinson, small game biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said it would be a big loss to wildlife if Kentucky's ash trees disappeared.
 
"Ash trees are valuable as a seed source," he said, "for songbirds, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys and even wood ducks in bottomland hardwood forests."
 
The exotic, invasive beetle probably arrived in North America in wood shipping crates carried by cargo ships. The Emerald ash borer was discovered in North America in 2002. By 2012, the beetle had spread to at least 17 U.S. states.
 
In years to come, Kentuckians could be looking at a landscape with few, if any, ash trees. "Ash trees sucker and grow well from seed, so there's likely to be a small lingering population," Thompson said.
 
All species of ash trees native to Kentucky, including the white ash, green ash and blue ash, are susceptible to the emerald ash borer. The blue ash, an heirloom of Kentucky's pre-history, still survives in remnant savannas of the Inner Bluegrass Region.
 
"Fayette County has been chemically treating some of their large blue ash trees," said Thompson. "To be effective, chemical treatment has to be continuous."
 
Ash wood has a high strength-to-weight ratio and low shrinkage when dried. It is a valuable wood with many commercial uses for everything from flooring and electric guitar bodies, to tool handles and baseball bats.
 
For the most up-to-date information on the emerald ash borer in Kentucky visit: http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/EAB/welcome.html.
 
Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.

WK Outdoors
Information provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Photo provided by KDFW
Visit the WK Outdoors website at www.wkoutdoors.com

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16

Weather Sponsored by

1 DOW 16,136.55
-238.21 (-1.45%)    
2 S&P 1,924.59
-26.54 (-1.36%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,688.80
-44.69 (-0.94%)    

Stock Report Sponsored by

3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

August 31, 2015 6829

Man Convicted of Hopkins Countian's Death Granted…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 02, 2015 6115

Madisonville Gaining Two New Businesses

by Ron Sanders
August 30, 2015 4011

UPDATED: 'He Fought the Law ... but, the Law Won'

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 02, 2015 3270

Investigation Leads to Meth Trafficking Charge

by SurfKY News
August 29, 2015 2764

Kentucky State Park Camping Deal Offered in…

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

August 06, 2015 19645

Muhlenberg Woman Reportedly Suffers Violent…

by SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 12276

Teen Reports Slasher Attempted to Attack Him on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

September 02, 2015 2109

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - September 2, 2015

by SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 965

One Injured when Motorcycle, SUV Collide

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 811

Nortonville New Water Treatment Plant Another…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
September 02, 2015 765

Ministry Reaches People from Region to Honduras

by Focus on Hopkins County
September 03, 2015 761

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports – Sept. 3, 2015

by SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 760

TVA Touts Progress of Combined Cycle Project

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 748

TMS Automotive to Locate in Bowling Green

by SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 558

Gubernatorial Candidate Spot-on about Head Start

by SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 551

Kentucky Disc Golf Championships Set for Oct. 3-4…

by SurfKY News
September 03, 2015 540

Gospelfest Wows Crowd of Approximately 4,500

by Mike Groves, SurfKY News