FORT WAYNE, Ind.
(AP) - The emerald ash borer’s march through northeastern Indiana is ending,
but the invasive beetle is leaving behind a steep toll. And experts say new
pests are waiting in the wings to take its place.
Many of the state’s
150 million ash trees have died or are dying, prompting cities to spend
millions of dollars to remove them. Fort Wayne alone has removed 13,000 ash
trees, at a cost of more than $3 million.
forest health specialist and state entomologist with the Indiana Department
of Natural Resources, told The Journal Gazette that the state continues to
monitor the spread of the emerald ash borer, especially in southern
counties. But officials also are keeping their eye on new culprits that
could damage Indiana trees.
The walnut twig
beetle, which targets black walnut trees, and the Asian long-horned beetle,
which can kill maple trees and seven other species of hardwood trees, are
just a few miles from the state line near Cincinnati and moving west,
And while the
emerald ash borers are heading west, the state continues to set traps in
southwestern Indiana, and a federal quarantine barring or limiting the
transfer of ash wood remains in place.
Marshall said it
can take up to two years for larvae in ash wood to die, which means the
beetle larvae could emerge as adults as late as 2016.
The emerald ash
borer came to the United States in 2002 and 2003 from Asia, China and parts
of Russia on shipments loaded on ash pallets. The metallic-green beetle has
been detected in 69 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
Rick Wilson, a tree
care manager at Signature Lawn and Tree Care Service in Fort Wayne, said he
thinks the ash borer infestation has reached a threshold.
“They are still
around, but it’s a much easier population to deal with,” Wilson said.