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Ash Borer Beetle, Destructive to Trees, Spreading in US, Canada

Image: Ash Borer Beetle, Destructive to Trees, Spreading in US, Canada

By Michael Mullins   |   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 01:26 PM

The Ash Borer beetle, a highly destructive insect native to Asia and Eastern Russia, has recently been spotted infiltrating new areas of the Midwest and Canada, causing communities to implement restrictive measures to stop the spread and prevent further infestation.

Emerald Ash Borer beetles kill ash trees by burrowing into the bark and destroying the growing parts of the tree.

In Iowa, the beetles were initially discovered in the northeastern region of the state in 2010.

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Earlier this month, the Ash Borer beetle was reportedly gaining a foothold in Burlington, Iowa, approximately 160 miles southeast of Des Moines along the Illinois border, local ABC News affiliate KCRG reported.

Biologists attempting to stop the spread of the tree-killing beetle set traps throughout the state over the past three years, with the primary goal of preventing it from breeching the Mississippi River and gaining access to other Midwestern states, KCRG said.

In the Iowa city of Marion, approximately 100 miles north of Burlington, funds have already been put aside for ash tree removal operations to fight the insect's potential spread.

Two years earlier, neighboring Cedar Rapids initiated a policy that led to the removal of 400 to 500 susceptible ash trees every winter, pre-empting the season when Ash Borer beetles generally strike, notes KCRG.

"Now that we have two potential avenues for the insect to start spreading, people should be a little more interested and start actively thinking about what they would do on their property," Dustin Hinrichs, field coordinator for Trees Forever, told KCRG.

Earlier this month, another Midwest municipality, Indiana's Michigan City, cut down more than 220 ash trees after finding nearly 70 ash trees infested with the Ash Borer beetle, TheNewsDispatch.com reported.

The ash trees were planted in Michigan City in the 1970s and 1980s replacing elm trees which at the time were destroyed by the city after they were infected with Dutch elm disease, a fungal infection.

North of the border in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer in Kawartha Lakes, Yahoo! Finance reported.

In response to the discovery, Canadian authorities subsequently placed movement restrictions on all ash materials, such as logs, branches, and wood chips, as well as any species of firewood taken from the affected site, the CFIA confirmed in a press release.

Ash Borer beetles currently exist in 32 Ontario counties.

The beetles are reportedly responsible for killing millions of ash trees across North America, according to the CFIA.

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