Bugged

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Major issues never seem really major until they hit home. Just within the last year or two, the Emerald Ash Borer has decided to call where I live “home.”

Only within the last 13 years has the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) been a threat in the U.S. Discovered in 2002 along the western shore of Lake Erie about where Michigan and Ohio meet, the alien pest has now spread to 25 states – mostly in the East and Midwest – and two eastern provinces in Canada. A number of treatments for infected trees are being tried around the country, with only varying amounts of success – sadly, the insect is nearly always fatal to any ash tree it’s infected. Bottom line, if an ash tree is infected, you can pretty much kiss it good-bye.

The EAB appeared in my area last year, just across the Ohio River from me in Marietta, Ohio. Infestation hasn’t been overwhelming, but that’s only because there’s not a lot of ash here – Marietta, a small town, had only 190 established ash trees when the EAB was discovered in 2002. About 30 trees had to be destroyed since the pest arrived last year, with about 30 more identified infested trees slated for felling. Just last week, about a dozen where cut down on the local college campus.

I’m glad that experiments with treatments are progressing in the affected areas, and I hope that a proverbial silver bullet will be found soon. But the success rate (or, rather, lack thereof) has me concerned that this is a battle that is ultimately unwinnable.

I hope I’m wrong.

A.J.

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