The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a nasty little creature that is attacking our ash trees and there seems to be no end in sight. This tenacious little jewelled beetle has mastered the art of survival and even Canada’s harsh weather seems to be no match for it. This means that for now, we have to accept that the emerald ash borer is here to stay but that does not mean we should just give up and stop fighting to rid our country of this invader and save what remains of our ash population.
Will the Cold Winter Slow the EAB?
One would imagine that a bug native to north-eastern Asia would not be able to survive in the harsh Canadian climate and that the first time the temperatures plummeted below zero, this troublesome pest would be annihilated. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and while frigid temperatures will have an impact on the emerald ash borer population, it is not enough to get rid of them entirely.
According to researchers, the temperature has to go as low as -30 degrees Celsius before it has any significant impact on this pest and then it only kills about 75% of the emerald ash borer in their prepupa stage. At -25 degrees Celsius the mortality rate drops to around 50%. But if the temperatures never get that low, the emerald ash borer will be unaffected, and this means they can easily make it through your average Canadian winter. The cold might slow down their assault on the local ash trees, their population may even take a knock, but they will not be eradicated. And even if the cold in one part of the country kills the emerald ash borer in that area, they will continue to spread to other parts of the country.
What is Being Done to Deal with the EAB?
The extremely invasive emerald ash borer, first found in Canada in 2002, is attacking and destroying five types of ash trees in our country, the green, white, black, pumpkin and blue ash. The female EAB lays eggs under the bark of the tree and when the larvae hatch, they feed off the cambium disrupting the flow of water and nutrients within the tree. Trees infected with emerald ash borer will eventually die, and along with them the urban canopies that provide homes for many birds, insects, and small animals.
Taking the fight to the emerald ash borer is a costly business and scientists are investigating whether temperatures below – 30 degrees Celsius will kill this invasive species or at least slow down its spread. While it has already been established that the average cold winter will not be enough to totally eradicate the EAB problem, how the insects react to the extreme cold will allow scientists to predict their spread and survival patterns across the country.
The government, however, is not relying on nature to do their work for them and they are doing everything in their power to fight the EAB invasion, including releasing parasitic wasps, using insecticides and educating the public about the dangers of EAB and how the pest spreads from one province to another.
Your Role in the Fight Against EAB
The emerald ash borer is not just a problem for the government, it is a problem for all of us and people need to take steps to prevent EAB from spreading. Never transport firewood from infected areas to other parts of the country. Always be vigilant and on the lookout for signs of emerald ash borer activity in any ash trees on your property. If you suspect there may be emerald ash borers on your property, you need to immediately contact a reputable tree service company, like Martin’s Tree Service, and formulate a plan of action.
Martin’s Tree Service will help you assess the situation and make recommendations on how to deal with the infestation and safely remove any trees that are infected or have died.