So flash back to 2003. I'm a young buck at our state resource agency, fresh out of graduate school. I'm sitting at a weekly meeting, listening to what the current issues in natural resources are when someone said something like this: "all ash trees in Ohio are going to die from this terrible pest called the Emerald Ash Borer that has been found in Michigan. It will be here before we know it." It was a little hard to believe.
If you have heard of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), or live in an area where it has virtually killed all of your native ash trees, you won't be surprised by this post. If you've been to southeastern Michigan, you've seen the dead trees at the rest areas and in the wet, flat forests. The same goes for the Toledo area- look around in low wet woods, and you'll see lots of dead trees. Travel along State Route 2 in Erie County up near Lake Erie, and look at the woods this summer. You'll see lots of brown from dead and dying ash trees.
This emerald green bug a little smaller than a pill capsule is being moving quickly (facilitated by humans transporting fire wood) around the midwest, east, and southern Ontario. Here is where it has been found as of December 2nd, 2009:
Full size map here.
You'll notice that there are plenty of red dots around central Ohio. Yes, it was found up near Delaware back in the mid 2000's, but I thought to myself that population was pretty far away. How naive I was.
Late this summer, I looked out into the parking lot where I work. The islands are full of young planted green ash trees. Some had no leaves. What was going on?
A closer look revealed this: the dreaded "D" shaped hole, the exit hole from which the adult EAB emerges after eating the tree and creating all of those interesting wormy patterns.
So there you have it, a mere six years after I learned about the EAB, was told it would be here soon, and after I had pretty much discounted it, it had arrived, literally, at my doorstep.