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Hope Regarding Emerald Ash Borer Control

Emerald ash borer shown on a penny for size comparison. Photo by Howard Russell, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org, from https://www.invasive.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1241011. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Emerald ash borer shown on a penny for size comparison. Photo by Howard Russell, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org, from https://www.invasive.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1241011. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

June 6, 2019

The emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native beetle that has been munching its way through the nation’s ash trees, was first detected in Maine in June 2018. Despite the grim picture, there are some rays of hope regarding this pest, writes Hannah Murray in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Infestation is far from widespread in Maine, and we may still have time to slow EAB spread – especially if we can halt the transport of firewood. For biological controls, woodpeckers may be able to cause more than 90 percent mortality in EAB. Scientists are exploring the use of parasitoid wasps and predators to reduce pest populations, and even heavily-infested areas have occasional surviving trees. White ash seems to be faring better than others and may have genetic resistance to EAB. Some municipalities have used pesticides to save target trees, with varying outcomes. Use of such chemicals may harm pollinators. Read more in Murray’s article “10 Q&A’s About Emerald Ash Borer.”

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