Ahh, the last campfire of the year: starlight, a warm sweater, roasted marshmallows…and the invasion of the emerald ash borer. Campfire builders in the Midwest have been unwitting accomplices of this small dark green beetle, a native of Asia, which has killed more than 30 million ash trees in the United States and Canada in the last decade and continues to expand its range.
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was first spotted in southeastern Michigan in 2002; since then, it’s been found in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada. The adult beetle is about ½ inch long. The larvae feed on an ash tree’s cambium (the area just under the bark), destroying the tree’s capacity to move water and nutrients. An infested ash tree dies from the top down within one to four years, depending on the size of the tree. Quarantines in the affected areas prohibit or restrict the transportation of ash trees, ash lumber, and ash firewood.
Emerald Ash Borer info page, www.emeraldashborer.info (see Contact Info tab for phone numbers for your state).
USDA emerald ash borer hotline, 866-322-4512.