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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

C&O Canal NHP Begins Sampling for Emerald Ash Borer Beetles

C&O Canal NHP Begins Sampling for Emerald Ash Borer Beetles

The C&O Canal National Historical Park is presently participating in an important trapping program to monitor the latest exotic invader to the American Forests, the Emerald ash borer. The trapping and monitoring program is part of a much broader effort being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Under U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service guidance triangular purple traps have been placed in ash trees to alert professionals to any advancement of the emerald ash borer from known areas of infestation. Much more information is available at: www.aphis.usda.gov.
Federal regulations prohibit transportation of firewood from six quarantined states: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois which now host the emerald ash borer, plus New York and New Jersey where another new destructive pest, the Asian Longhorn Beetle, can be found. The Emerald ash borer has spread from Michigan and is now found in parts of Prince Georges County Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and recently Fairfax County Virginia. Emerald ash borer can be transported in firewood and nursery stock from quarantined areas of the country into new locations in the Park.
Neither Emerald ash borer nor Asian longhorn beetle has been found yet in the park, but park natural resource staff is working closely with federal and State of Maryland plant protection agencies to educate the public about risks associated with transporting firewood. C&O Canal National Historical Park has banned transporting firewood into park campgrounds.
The Emerald ash borer was first discovered in the U.S. in Southeastern Michigan in 2002, and millions of ash trees have been killed there in only a few years. The green beetle lays eggs in bark crevices on all species of ash. Upon hatching, larvae burrow under the bark, creating feeding tunnels that interfere with the tree's ability to translocate nutrients and fluids. The tree gradually starves and dies. Emerald ash borer kills ash trees within three to five years of infestation. Adults are dark metallic green, 1/2 inch in length and 1/8 inch wide, and fly only from mid-May to September. Larvae spend the rest of the year developing beneath the bark.
A report issued by Ohio State University states "If it is not contained and eradicated, emerald ash borer's impact on ash in North America will be similar to that of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, which devastated natural and urban forests in the 20th century. It has the potential to virtually eliminate ash as a component of North American forests, with dramatic effects on ecosystem processes as well as plant and animal communities. ... The threat cannot be overestimated."
If you have any questions concerning this program, please contact Scott Bell, Natural Resource Program Manager at (301)714-2224.

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