The emerald ash borer has become the scourge of Canadian forests, destroying millions of ash trees and altering the landscape forever. But fortunately, the government isn’t sitting back and doing nothing or relying on homeowners to deal with the problems in their own backyard. Municipalities and local authorities across the country are doing everything in their power to rid Canada of this highly invasive and destructive jewel green beetle.
Since the emerald ash borer, that feeds on various ash species, is native to northeast Asia, it has no natural predators in Canada, and this is allowing it to wreak havoc across the country. It is not, however, the adult emerald ash borer that causes all the destruction but rather the larvae. A female emerald ash borer can lay up to 200 eggs in a single season and the larvae feed off the cambial layer below the bark of the ash tree, disrupting the flow of nutrients and water, and ultimately killing the tree within a couple of years.
Pulling out all the Stops in the Fight Against EAB
Municipalities around the country are investigating and testing several integrated pest control strategies and bio-control methods to try and combat the spread of the emerald ash borer. These methods include releasing wasps that feed on the EAB grubs, installing bait traps laced with pheromones to attract the males and infect them with the deadly entomopathogenic fungi.
The advantage of the fungus is that it does not kill the emerald ash borer immediately and once infected, the male EAB spreads the fungus to any other beetles that come into contact with it. Modified bait traps attract male emerald ash borer and once they enter the trap, they are exposed to the powdery fungus that clings to them and grows like a white fur on their bodies until it penetrates their exoskeleton and kills them. During tests, 80% of emerald ash borer exposed to the lethal Beauveria bassiana spores died within four days of contamination.
Naturally occurring fungi, which cause disease in certain insects, are an important biological control factor in the fight against the emerald ash borer. Beauveria bassiana has already been used to successfully control agricultural pests and is deadly to all beetles in the same family as the emerald ash borer. Trials in Quebec registered a 40% to 50% infection rate in the emerald ash borer population when exposed to Beauveria bassiana.
What you can do to Prevent the Spread of Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer was first detected along the Canadian border near Windsor in 2002 and is now present in 75% of municipalities in the country. It has already killed an estimated 15 million ash trees in Canada and the loss of the ash from the ecosystem has devastating consequences for the country. Without the ash trees, there will be an increase in the number of invasive plant species, a change in soil nutrients and composition, and a decline in native animal species and insects that rely on the ash trees for their survival.
Control of the emerald ash borer is not just the responsibility of the government and local municipalities; everyone needs to play their part in the eradication of this highly destructive beetle in order to save what remains of the Canadian ash population. You need to be vigilant and actively look for signs of emerald ash borer activity on your property. If you suspect you have emerald ash borer on your property, you need to contact a reputable tree services company, like Martin’s Tree Service immediately.
Infected trees will slowly die and eventually topple over, posing a risk to yourself and your property. A professional arborist can help you assess the situation, make recommendations and safely remove any trees that are infected or dying.