The USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a new interactive tool to explain the story of emerald ash borer (EAB) in the U.S. The ‘Story Map of EAB’ includes pictures and details of symptoms of EAB infestations and an interactive map illustrating the spread of EAB from 2002, when it arrived in Michigan, through its current status in 2018.
Emerald ash borer is a bright metallic green beetle originally found in eastern Asia. The tiny beetle feeds and breeds exclusively on ash trees.The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. The Story Map of EAB provides details on the pest's destructive nature.
USDA APHIS, ARS, and the Forest Service have worked together to combat this pest through surveys, monitoring, outreach, and biological control strategies. Quarantines were established shortly after EAB was confirmed in the U.S. as a means to prevent spread. Unfortunately, EAB populations are now established in 35 states, the District of Columbia and possibly other unknown areas. The interactive story of EAB shows how the spread happened, the toll the damage has taken, and the steps being taken to fight back.
Earlier this year, APHIS proposed to lift all EAB quarantines, signaling a shift towards biological control efforts using parasitic wasps. Under the proposal, funding previously allocated to the implementation and enforcement of the quarantines would instead be directed to research into and deployment of biological control agents, which would serve as the primary tool to mitigate and control the pest.
Comments on the lifting of EAB quarantines will be accepted until Nov. 19. Visit the Federal Register link above for instructions on how to submit a comment.
Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org