An emerald ash borer, an invasive species, was detected for the first time in Southwest Missouri as the beetle was previously detected in other Missouri-based counties.
The Agrilus planipennis is more commonly known as the emerald ash borer. This is a green jewel beetle insect. It is native to the eastern parts of Asia. In its homeland, the insect is not considered that much of a pest.
However, outside of these areas, it is considered an invasive species. Furthermore, it is held as highly destructive for ash species. Ash trees are species native to North America and northwest Europe.
Emerald ash borers were a little-known species. More studies on the species began after it was detected in the United States. As such, most of the research on the matter comes from the U.S.
North American local governments are not trying to control the emerald ash borer issue. They are trying to control its spread and to induce a biological control.
The development of specific insecticides and a diversification of the tree species are also amongst their measures.
As the emerald ash borer only attacks ash trees, they are the most affected by the species. The green beetles were first detected in the United States in 2002. They were first found in Missouri.
The exact cause of their appearance is still unknown. A most likely theory as to their introduction states as follows. They could have been unwillingly introduced through packing pallets and crates as they could have been made up of ash borer-affected wood.
Ash borers were first found in Missouri back in 2008. They were detected in a campground situated near Lake Wappapello. These were most likely introduced through infected firewood.
The lethal insect has since spread to 31 Missouri-based counties. Most specimens were found in the southeast regions of the state. St. Louis and Kansas City were also seen to have been affected by the emerald ash borer.
The recent discovery is the first of the king in Southwest Missouri. Foresters from the Missouri State Department of Conservation confirmed the appearance. The beetle was detected in ash trees located near Lebanon, in Laclede County.
As such, the state department of conservation published a press release. In it, they confirmed the find and offered a few details about the species.
Emerald ash borer specimens were seen to reach an approximated half-inch long size. Adult beetles were found to emerge from the ash trees. D-shaped holes are left behind after their departure.
In early summer, female ash borers lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. As the eggs hatch, they bore into the vascular layer of the tree. The vascular layer is the area which transports nutrients and water throughout the tree.
As the beetles feed into it, they leave winding tunnels into the surface of the wood. Ash trees were noted to die about 3 to 4 years after being infected by the borers.
Ash trees are quite common throughout cities and parks. They make up for about 40 percent of the urban tree population. In forests, they account for just about 3 percent.
Ash trees are very common in urban areas as they were widely planted some years back. They were grown following the demise of elms. These, in their turn, were killed off by the Dutch elm disease.
Now, local authorities are facing a similar issue. One that could also be rather costly. Homeowners and city authorities must make a decision in relation to their ash trees.
They could either invest in treating and trying to protect them against the emerald ash borer. Or they could choose to completely remove the ash trees and possibly replace them.
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