Millions of ash trees in the United States have succumbed to the emerald ash borer. Recent documentation stated that over 50 million ash trees have died since 2002.
EAB was first discovered in 2002 in southeast Michigan, which currently has a 100 percent ash tree mortality rate at the epicenter. The borer is indigenous to Asia, and it is believed it was introduced to the U.S. on the wood of a shipping container or pallets.
A few facts for your next borer conversation with the neighbors:
- By April 2014, 22 states and two Canadian provinces had reported EAB infestations.
- The bug can fly up to ½ mile, but many have been spread by campers moving infested firewood.
- The USDA has categorized EAB as the most destructive pest ever in the U.S.
One of the best resources to learn more about the borer is Purdue’s Extension website: https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/EAB. On the site there is an excellent publication from professors at Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue and Colorado State universities about newer insecticide options for treating ash trees. Early in the infestation it was cost-prohibitive to treat many trees. New insecticides are making it more affordable to treat some trees, provided they are healthy or not already damaged by the bug. There is also a decision guide on the website that has useful information if you have trees at your home.
As you may see around Tipton Lakes, there are many trees in the boulevard medians that are severely damaged and will need to be replaced. A replacement plan has been developed and has begun to be implemented that replaces the ash trees with multiple varieties of trees. By moving away from a monoculture to a more diverse tree plan throughout the neighborhoods, our goal is to safeguard the future tree cover from the massive destruction we are experiencing.
This map from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources identifies where in Indiana the emerald ash borer has been physically documented. While the damage is much more widespread throughout the state, what is shown are discrete locations where the bug has been seen, identified and documented. Visit the IDNR website for this map in an interactive format and for more details as well.