The beetles are coming!
As reported by a local Tennessee newspaper, five Tennessee counties have recently enacted a quarantine on the movement of ash trees and ash tree-related products to combat the infestation of such trees by an extremely destructive beetle, known as the Emerald Ash Borer. Under the quarantine, no ash trees or related products located in these five counties can be moved from their currently locations. As of today, Tennessee currently has 46 counties under quarantine. Currently, 24 states are affected by the infestation.
The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is considered by many to be the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. A concentrated beetle infestation can kill smaller ashes within 1-2 years of infestation; large, gracious ash trees can be killed in a mere 3-4 years. Since its appearance in the United States in 2002 (in Michigan), the Emerald Ash Borer has gone on to kill millions of ash trees across the U.S. and Canada.
Typical plans to control and eliminate the Emerald Ash Borer include the following measures: setting traps near infected trees; removing and destroying infected trees; protecting healthy trees by inoculating them, and quarantining healthy trees as well as untreated firewood, lumber and ash nursery stock. Although insecticides exist to combat the beetles, they are only moderately effective. Further, the process of applying them is extremely expensive and time-consuming, making treatment of dense forests nearly impossible.