There is a new pest that has made its way into New Jersey’s trees. The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle is an actual parasite of trees that has immense destructive effects on those it inhabits. There is an entire quarantined area in the US, that has been designated to reduce the development and the spread of this insect and it has been extended to include New Jersey.
The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle is originally from Asia and scientists believe that it has reached the US through a wood transport that contained infected logs.
The life cycle of the beetle is extremely interesting. As an adult it is a flying beetle that can be recognized by its amazing metallic green coloration. It is very small, as it typically measures only 0.33 inches in length and 0.063 inches in width.
When it identifies an ash tree during its flight, the female will lay its eggs on the surface of the tree, in the small cracks that it finds. Then, small larvae borrow into the tree’s surface and they feed on its nutrients. The locate between the wood and the bark of the tree, where the nutrient routes are found.
As the larvae grow in size, they move around in order to find more food and so, they cause permanent damage to the tree, as they build actual galleries in the tree surface along their paths.
When they are fully developed, the pupal stages emerge from under the tree bark and when they reach the adult stage, they start flying around in search for a mate, in order to reproduce and thus the cycle is complete.
The larval stage is the one that damages the tree, because it prohibits it to supply enough nutrients to the leaves, that ultimately wither and die. The more important the beetle infestation is, the more extensive the damage to the tree is.
The Asian trees have been facing this parasite for an extensive period and have managed to develop actual defense mechanisms against it. Scientists have identified the production of a special chemical that is lethal to the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle.
There was a quarantined area enforced by state authorities in the US, in order to prevent the spread of this parasite along with wood interstate transports. The only means of wide area transmission for the Emerald Ash Borer is mechanical transportation conducted by man, since it cannot travel far on its own.
The states included are Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, in their entirety and some parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Wood transport from these state is prohibited to reach states from outside the quarantined area, but it has recently become legal for these state to transport logs among themselves.
The quarantine includes the transport of ash wood, ash logs, ash firewood (if untreated), ash nursery stock and wood chips, according to the New York Stare Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM). The wood in either one of these forms may not be taken out of the restricted zones without specific permission from Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Furthermore, the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) states that it is illegal to move Emerald Ash Borer specimens outside quarantine lines, regardless of the life stage that they are found in, provided that the transport is conducted for “management, control, identification or disposal” purposes.
These strict rules are imperative in order to stop the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle further throughout the US, as it is capable of causing extensive damage to the trees it inhabits. In addition, the development of biological methods of controlling these insects is underway and hopefully, these will prove to be less toxic to the trees and the environment than the chemical ones.
Image Source: emeraldashborer.info