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Emerald Ash Borer invades Canada

Chris Dawson, reporter

May 19, 2011 — The Emerald Ash Borer has killed millons of ash trees across Canada and the United states. It poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas in both Canada and the U.S. The bug arrived in 2002 from Asia and Canadian Scientists are trying to find ways to stop it.

Emerald ash borer kills millions of trees in Canada and the U.S.
Emerald ash borer kills millions of trees in Canada and the U.S.

Dr. Barry Lyons is putting up a test trap in hopes of attracting the Emerald Ash Borer. It’s an invasive insect that’s killing ash trees.

But it’s not the bug itself that causes all the damage; it’s the larvae that are the real problem.

“The real damaging stage of this insect is the larvae stage. And the larval stage tunnels underneath the bark and they feed on the inner bark and the outer wood and by doing that they disrupt the transportation system of the insect, so the tree is no longer able to take up water and transport nutrients and it effectively kills the tree.”

Lyons says research in the last 10 years shows that the bug has adapted to our climate, even creating a form of anti-freeze in their bodies to help them withstand our Canadian winters.

Research being done to try and prevent further damage to ash trees
Research being done to try and prevent further damage to ash trees

“They grow faster at higher temperatures, they are able to fly at higher temperatures, walk , their feeding rate depends on what the temperature is and even the rate that they lay the eggs at is dependent on the temperature so the higher the temperature they are experiencing the faster these things occur. So we need to know some of that information if we are trying to predict when the insects are going to be out and active.”

Research is also being done to introduce a tiny Asian wasp into Canada. They lay their eggs in the larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer. The hope is that it prevents the killing of more ash trees in Canada.

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