Damage from emerald ash borer may be costliest ever

Aug 25, 2014

An emerald ash borer
An emerald ash borer
Credit User: USDAgov / flickr

The emerald ash borer is said to be the most destructive, most costly bug that has ever attacked trees in North America.

It is responsible for wiping out untold millions of ash trees from New Jersey all the way to Colorado.

And it all started in a southeast Michigan town: Canton.

Dan Herms is a professor of entomology at Ohio State University. Herms says the emerald ash borer almost certainly arrived via infested wood used in international commerce, like solid wood packing built from infested ash trees in Asia.

Herms added the emerald ash borer is especially devastating because it feeds on the vascular tissue of the tree, which is the tissue that moves water and nutrients between roots and the leaves.

According to an article which Herms co-authored, emerald ash borers are the most costly biological invasion by an exotic forest insect to date.

“In Ohio only, research estimated that the insect will ultimately cost $4 to $7 billion, including the death and replacement of ash trees in the urban environment,” says Herms.

* Listen to the interview with Dan Herms above.