Emerald ash borer – Does it matter anymore?

by Elizabeth Callow, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Since it’s arrival in 2002, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has appeared in many news headlines.  The ash tree once graced many lawns and sidewalks with its shade. Now, most all of the ash in the midwest have succumbed to EAB and have been removed for several years now. So why, since EAB has successfully invaded our forests and lawns, is this insect something we should still be aware of?

EAB enetered North American through shipping pallets near Detroit, Michigan. It is very unlikely that EAB would have entered North American had it not been transported from its native region, Asia. Each day, many products enter our ports and for many of the imports, there is little tracking regarding the “stowaway” organisms that may be present. For many of these pests, there are very few to no competitor species present.  This contributes to the organism’s ability to quickly invade an area and become established.

In short, yes, EAB Still matters.  It matters in how we deal with our international commerce and trade, it matters how we approach the next disease threatening our forests and ecosystems, and it matters economically.  While there is some hope for a potential return of a resistant ash hybrid, it still may be decades before ash trees are grown again.  And it is clear to everyone that it would have been a lot better if EAB had not been introduced in the first place.  So, for the sake of our forests and environment, please be aware of what you may do that could contribute to the spread of any invasive species.  Emerald ash borer should serve as a warning – if we are not careful, another ecological disaster could materialize.

For more information

Wright State researcher finds emerald ash borer may have spread to a different tree – news release


Elizabeth Callow is a fourth year student studying Sustainable Plant Systems/Agronomy.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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