Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | 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.

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

August 25, 2014 5023

Flooded Central City Church's Seven Day…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 4454

14-Year-Old Suffers Gunshot Wound; Air…

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 4359

Camper Stolen in Utica Recovered in…

in Top Stories by Martha Clark
August 25, 2014 3952

44th Mount Saint Joseph Picnic is Sunday,…

in News by Jennifer Kaminski
August 25, 2014 3863

Daviess County Health Department…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

August 25, 2014 4454

14-Year-Old Suffers Gunshot Wound; Air…

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 2541

Two Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision Near…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
August 25, 2014 2446

Former Co-Workers Trying to Raise Money…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 26, 2014 1967

Two People Injured When Vehicle Overturns…

in Top Stories by Matt Sanderson
August 27, 2014 1321

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - August…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

August 25, 2014 3952

44th Mount Saint Joseph Picnic is Sunday,…

in News by Jennifer Kaminski
August 25, 2014 3863

Daviess County Health Department…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 3746

GRADD Seeking Ombudsman Program Volunteers

in News by Woody Maglinger
August 26, 2014 3447

Owensboro Board of Commissioners…

in News by Beth Cecil
August 26, 2014 2994

City Street Closures on Strawbridge and…

in News by Abby Shelton

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

August 25, 2014 5023

Flooded Central City Church's Seven Day…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 4359

Camper Stolen in Utica Recovered in…

in Top Stories by Martha Clark
August 25, 2014 3664

Job Corp Celebrates 50th Anniversary

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 25, 2014 3572

Mustangs Marching Classic

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 26, 2014 3177

Family Has Close Call with Tornado

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

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)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (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