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

Most Read This Week

May 22, 2015 7491

Madisonville Man Charged with First-Degree Rape

by SurfKY News
May 23, 2015 7175

Missing 5-Year-Old Boy Found

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 20, 2015 3594

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park Holding Beach…

by Gil Lawson
May 21, 2015 3364

Police Charge Madisonville Man with Harassing…

by SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 3302

Can Sunscreen Save Your Life?

by Melissa Patrick

Most Read This Month

May 15, 2015 10772

New Madisonville Business In Full Operation Soon

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 15, 2015 7580

Investigation of Local Barber Shop Leads to Drug…

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 25, 2015 3302

Can Sunscreen Save Your Life?

by Melissa Patrick
May 25, 2015 2242

Hopkins Man Injured in Muhlenberg Motorcycle…

by SurfKY News
May 26, 2015 1906

Large Necklace on Rearview Mirror Lands Driver in…

by SurfKY News
May 26, 2015 1887

Mandarin House Gearing Up to Open Soon

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 1887

UPDATE - MPD Seeks Three in Residential Robbery

by SurfKY News
May 26, 2015 1637

Governor Announces Hopkins County as Kentucky…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 1233

Seniors Celebrate with Cook-out, Games, Fellowship

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 1208

Damascus Road House Leads Young People to Christ

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 26, 2015 1109

Two Central City People Jailed on Meth Charges

by SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 1052

‘Remembering Those That Paid All’

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News