Hot Topic! Emerald ash borer – Invasives on Maine’s doorstep

Picasa, DAB3218

First detected in Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has now spread to at least 24 states and two Canadian provinces. EAB infestations have been reported in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. So, although Maine has not had any recorded infestations, EAB is only 20-30 miles away and the Maine Forest Service says they are preparing for the inevitable. Maine citizen scientists can help by monitoring with Mission: Emerald ash borer.

EAB is a metallic green beetle, about a half of an inch long. EAB are native to Asia, but most likely arrived in the United States aboard solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships and airplanes en route from Asia. While the adult beetles do very little damage to ash trees, adults do lay their larvae on all native species of ash trees in the U.S. and then those larvae will tunnel under the ash tree’s bark, disrupt the tree’s ability to move water and nutrients throughout the plant, and eventually kill the tree.

Wood damaged by EAB - Picasa, Susan Greenhouse

While Maine does not have the same density of ash trees that other New England states have, the tree is used by traditional basket weavers within Maine’s Indian Tribes as well as by manufacturers for goods such as baseball bats, canoe paddles, and more. There are methods that can be used to control the spread of EAB, but really no one has found a way to get rid of them once they have established. If you want to read more about EAB, check out this article from the Portland Press Herald.

So, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent an infestation of EAB in Maine. Well, we have some great resources for you!

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