For an area like Guelph, which was once dominated by woodlands and wetlands, the invasion of an Asian pest can be crippling for its native trees. As its name suggests, the Emerald Ash borer is an insect that specifically preys on various sub-species of ash tree. Some of the most common indigenous species of ash are the Black and White Ash trees, although Guelph also has other rarer species, such as the Blue and Green Ashes. Unfortunately, none of these species are safe from the threat of the Emerald Ash borer in Guelph.
A Tiny Tree Terminator
According to recent reports, the City of Guelph has developed a multi-pronged system of dealing with the problem presented by the invasive insect. Despite their best efforts, they are still struggling to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer in Guelph. The beetle measures just 8.5mm in length but it only takes one of them to destroy a mature tree.
It’s believed that the insect first crossed into Canada as recently as 2002, having stowed away in a wooden packing crate or similar item that was shipped into the country. The insect arrived in Detroit a few years prior to its appearance in the Guelph region but travelled north quickly, presumably via infested firewood. Since it’s arrival in the Ontario region, it’s been responsible for the destruction of vast swathes of ash.
Ashes to Ashes
Ash trees are some of the common trees in urban areas and are a popular choice among private land and home owners. Unfortunately, the only ash species not at risk are those, like the Mountain ash, which is not a true ash at all, rather belonging to the rose family.
A Matter of Life and Death
The Emerald ash borer has a life cycle of approximately two years, but it is its first stage of life that is the most destructive. The adult female borer lays her eggs in the cracks and crevices of the tree’s bark. When the larvae, which are similar to small caterpillars, hatch, they chew their way through the outer layers and into the layer below which is responsible for the distribution of water and nutrients throughout the tree.
As the insects disrupt the tree’s defences and ability to maintain its health, it starts to die, and within three years, the tree will be dead. In the beetle’s natural habitat, there are several natural factors that suppress its destructive spread, but in Canada there is no such environmental defence, leading to the severe problem of Emerald Ash Borer in Guelph.
To help control the spread of the insects and the devastation they cause, it’s recommended that private landowners either call an expert tree specialist, such as Martin’s Tree Service or undertake certain measures themselves. These include: