The pesky Emerald Ash Borer strikes again and gets 5 Tennessee counties on the quarantine list, putting a great many ash trees in grave danger.
The emerald ash borer is a vicious tree parasite, whose adults chomp on ash tree leaves, while its larvae get between the wood and the tree bark and deprive the tree of its nutrients, borrowing away spiraled trails in the wood and ultimately destroying the tree entirely.
The pest is presumed to have made its way on American soil sometime in the 1990’s on some sort of wood transport ship that came from Asia, where the emerald ash borer is at large. Asian trees however have developed extensive defense mechanisms and have essentially co-evolved with the parasite up to the point where they can survive it.
The first time it has been actually identified in traps in the US was in 2010 and since then,it is continuously expanding its territory despite the authorities’ efforts to prevent it from spreading. However, given the fact that it is extremely easy for the borer to be migrate along with various wood transports, it is going to be a very tough fight to put an end to its expansion.
While the emerald ash borer cannot travel too far on its own, it could easily be carried from an infected region to a borer-free one by small firewood transports or by tourists who decide to take the wrong souvenirs from the woods. Therefore, awareness campaigns would be of great use in the fight against the minute predator, so that people know how to protect the environment form it.
This is why the US authorities have created a quarantine zone that includes all the regions where the pest is identified. Unfortunately five more Tennessee counties have been added to it recently. Rutherford, Williamson, Franklin, Marshall and Trousdale counties are the recent additions, which means that wood transports from these regions to borer-free parts of the US are strictly forbidden, under the penalty of the law. Transports inside the affected areas are sill permitted though.
The people from these regions are advised to contact exterminators and to prepare to fight the expansion of the emerald ash borer. Furthermore, these preventative measures are advised to be taken as soon as possible, because the parasite is extremely small and easy to miss, but its effects on the trees are devastating; and ash tree could within three years from the contamination.
Scientists are working on better preventative methods to keep ash trees safe from the parasite, but also on various methods of reducing its population significantly. It remains to be seen what the best will prove to be, as the US’s fight against the emerald ash borer continues.
Image Source: nyis.info