The emerald ash borer is an invasive species of beetle that came to the United States about five years ago and has begun a reign of terror in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Michigan has lost millions of ash trees. Indiana and Ohio also are losing that valuable resource.
As a part of the campaign to combat the emerald ash borer, officials in the three states are urging residents who go camping to not transport firewood from one area to another. To highlight that effort, Gov. Mitch Daniels has declared the week of May 22-28 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week.
Further, the DNR and Purdue University have issued a firewood alert. Emerald ash borer larvae are transported easily in firewood, so Hoosiers are being urged to purchase their firewood when they arrive at their destination.
Since the first discovery of the beetle in Indiana in April 2004, five townships in northeast Indiana have been quarantined for the emerald ash borer. Clay, Newbury and Van Buren townships in LaGrange County and Jamestown and Millgrove townships in Steuben County are quarantined.
Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week will conclude Saturday at the nature center at Pokagon State Park near Angola. Events at Potato Creek and Chain O’ Lakes state parks also are planned. The day-long activities will include games, giveaways, a survey demonstration, a bloodhound searching for the beetle, educational presentations, and the introduction of the emerald ash borer mascot, Eric.
The emerald ash borer is an exotic beetle that was discovered in Southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae, however, feed on the inner bark of the trees and disrupt the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in this country on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or on airplanes from Asia.
For more information about the emerald ash borer, visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.IN.gov/entomolo or www.emeraldashborer.info.