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United States forests continue to suffer because of the emerald ash borer, a highly dangerous invasive species which originates from Asia, and it was first observed around Detroit in 2002.
Since then, it has destroyed tens of millions of trees, and it devastated 27 states. It has been recently discovered in several Iowa counties, meaning that this pest has probably spread in more than a third of the country.
The insect was detected thanks to the reports of some people from Washington and Van Buren County. According to Mike Kintner, gypsy moth coordinator and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship EAB, the experts are not surprised that this insect has also spread in southeast Iowa, because it was first detected in July 2013, in Burlington.
Scientists advise people to call the authorities immediately if they see the signs of emerald ash borer including increased woodpecker activity to the bark, water sprouts along the main branches and trunk, D-shaped exit holes, S-shaped feeding galleries under the bark, and canopy dieback starting from the top of the tree and continuing downward.
Emerald ash borer is most likely one of the top tree killers throughout North America, because it kills all species of ash by laying their eggs under the bark, thus destroying the layers of the tree. This way, the tree is prevented from growing, and it eventually dies.
According to the USDA Forest Service, the situation is critical as around 3.1 million ash trees and 52 million rural ash trees have been affected by this pest until now, and it is expected to spread even further if officials and authorities do not take active measures fast.
Experts strongly recommend residents to use firewood from local sources because firewood usually represents the primary method through which the emerald ash borer and other dangerous insect species spread.
Unfortunately, trunk injection is the only method of prevention allowed by officials until September 1st, and it can be done only by pesticide applicators who have a valid certificate. It is uncertain whether it will be enough to tackle such a large-scale problem.
If the emerald ash borer keeps spreading in the forests of North America, we can only imagine what damage it will cause ten years from now on. Hopefully, experts and forest officials will come up with a better strategy to deal with this tree-killing invasive species that has the power severely to harm the ecosystem of the American continent.
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