Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

WK Outdoors - Bugs Destroying Trees Across Kentucky

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

© Copyright 2014 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 by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Closure on Kentucky 1337 in Hopkins County on Monday

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (9/19/14) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close Kentucky 1337 in Hopkins County… Read More

Local NAMI Chapter Pleased with Recent Recognition of State Official

MURRAY, Ky. (9/20/14) — Kentucky First District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, a co-sponsor of HB 3717, the Helping Families… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 15, 2014 5782

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 16, 2014 4424

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 19, 2014 3236

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 17, 2014 3234

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3166

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3166

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 1999

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 17, 2014 1984

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Top Stories by Kyle Pharris
September 18, 2014 1740

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1603

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 18, 2014 528

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 19, 2014 482

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 19, 2014 405

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 18, 2014 373

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway
September 18, 2014 339

Bearcats Return to Owensboro for…

in Top Stories by Kayla Cruse

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 15, 2014 5782

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 16, 2014 4424

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 17, 2014 3234

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 1296

Muhlenberg Job Corps Support is 'Written…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 16, 2014 1264

Former 1977 Graduates Speaks at…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06