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.

In Other News...

MCCH Blood Donor Center Receives Positive Report

MURRAY, Ky. (8/1/15) — The Blood Donor Center at Murray-Calloway County Hospital was given a stellar “no deficiencies”… Read More

MCCH Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

MURRAY, Ky. (8/2/15) — World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7 and Murray-Calloway County Hospital is celebrating with… Read More

Most Read This Week

July 27, 2015 6078

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 3817

School System Announces Free Lunch/Breakfast at…

by SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 3568

Webster Man Leads Police on Chase through Parts…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 3563

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 28, 2015 2717

Hanson, Owensboro, Bowling Green Youths Win at…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

July 17, 2015 16473

Muhlenberg Most Wanted - Top 10

by SurfKY News
July 23, 2015 15432

UPDATE: Family Confirms Body of Missing Teen…

by Shawn Freels, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

August 01, 2015 2367

24th Annual Miss Teen Hopkins County Fair Pageant…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 2224

Little Miss, Mister Hopkins County Fair Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 1660

'Diggers' Return to Find More Hatfield-McCoy…

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 1182

Knight Crowned 2015 Miss Pre-Teen Hopkins County…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 1027

One Injured in Vehicle Roll-Over Accident

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 568

South Korean Automotive Supplier INFAC North…

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 555

Who Will Be America's Next President?

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 491

Commissioner Comer Honors Kentucky Farmers'…

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 479

Keeping the Faith - 'In Scorn of the Consequences'

by SurfKY News