Invasive Species Spreading Out of Control

As we reported on our blog last year, millions of ash trees stand dead throughout Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana since the accidental introduction of the emerald ash borer in the United States and Canada in the 1990’s. The invasive Emerald Ash Borer has killed 50 to 100 million ash trees and threatens over 7 billion trees throughout North America. This pesky beetle only attacks ash trees. The beetles are metallic green with purple segments under their wings, about ½” long, and have flattened backs.

Because these insects are so hard to control and spread so quickly, devastation is quick and severe. Our best efforts at controlling the infestation have slowed it down at best. However, in some areas of the country this year, temperatures may have stayed cold enough long enough to kill some tree killing invasive insects, like the emerald ash borer.

Expert Survival Skills

The larvae of these insects are somewhat vulnerable to extreme cold. After the insects lay their eggs in the bark of ash trees in the late summer months, the beetle larvaes start to bore into the trees, feeding on the tissue of the tree. Damage to the conductive tissue of the tree prevents water and nutrients from feeding the tree. 

These insects are incredbile survivors and will resort to extreme measures to make it through the cold winter. Their survival instincts include a technique called “super cooling,” which happens when temperatures first drop in late fall. The larvae will stop feeding and stay under the bark of the tree where it is protected. The larvae will even purge the contents of its stomach because the contents could freeze. When the larvae does this, it will fold itself in half. That is the behavior entomologists are discovering when they peel back the bark of ash trees. Apparently, they are being forced to resort to these extreme measures to survive.

Might the Emerald Ash Borer be Frozen Out?

Even with their extraordinary ability to adapt and survive, the insect will still die when temperatures are cold enough. 

“There’s no magic number in all of this,” says Robert Venette, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota. “When temperatures fall to minus 20 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when things get interesting.”

He goes on to explain that at 20 degrees below zero, as much as half of the population of emerald ash boreres could die off. At 30 degrees below zero, nearly none will survive. 

Central Indiana has recorded low temperatures of 10 degrees below zero — perhaps not low enough to have a significant impact on the invasive species, but with extreme cold temperatures in the forecast again this week, the thought of saving ash trees might just be a silver lining to the frigid air.

Landscape Solutions provides services related to this infestation, from prevantative treatment to tree removal and replacement as appropriate. CONTACT US for more information. 

Does the cold snap mean death for the Emerald Ash Borer?

Invasive Species Spreading Out of Control

As we reported on our blog last year, millions of ash trees stand dead throughout Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana since the accidental introduction of the emerald ash borer in the United States and Canada in the 1990’s. The invasive Emerald Ash Borer has killed 50 to 100 million ash trees and threatens over 7 billion trees throughout North America. This pesky beetle only attacks ash trees. The beetles are metallic green with purple segments under their wings, about ½” long, and have flattened backs.

Because these insects are so hard to control and spread so quickly, devastation is quick and severe. Our best efforts at controlling the infestation have slowed it down at best. However, in some areas of the country this year, temperatures may have stayed cold enough long enough to kill some tree killing invasive insects, like the emerald ash borer.

Expert Survival Skills

The larvae of these insects are somewhat vulnerable to extreme cold. After the insects lay their eggs in the bark of ash trees in the late summer months, the beetle larvaes start to bore into the trees, feeding on the tissue of the tree. Damage to the conductive tissue of the tree prevents water and nutrients from feeding the tree. 

These insects are incredbile survivors and will resort to extreme measures to make it through the cold winter. Their survival instincts include a technique called “super cooling,” which happens when temperatures first drop in late fall. The larvae will stop feeding and stay under the bark of the tree where it is protected. The larvae will even purge the contents of its stomach because the contents could freeze. When the larvae does this, it will fold itself in half. That is the behavior entomologists are discovering when they peel back the bark of ash trees. Apparently, they are being forced to resort to these extreme measures to survive.

Might the Emerald Ash Borer be Frozen Out?

Even with their extraordinary ability to adapt and survive, the insect will still die when temperatures are cold enough. 

“There’s no magic number in all of this,” says Robert Venette, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota. “When temperatures fall to minus 20 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when things get interesting.”

He goes on to explain that at 20 degrees below zero, as much as half of the population of emerald ash boreres could die off. At 30 degrees below zero, nearly none will survive. 

Central Indiana has recorded low temperatures of 10 degrees below zero — perhaps not low enough to have a significant impact on the invasive species, but with extreme cold temperatures in the forecast again this week, the thought of saving ash trees might just be a silver lining to the frigid air.

Landscape Solutions provides services related to this infestation, from prevantative treatment to tree removal and replacement as appropriate. CONTACT US for more information. 

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