It’s time to be on the lookout for an invasive beetle that could eventually kill nearly every ash tree in Vermont.
The emerald ash borer, which is native to Asia, showed up in the U.S. in Detroit in 2002. Between June 1 and Sept. 30, the beetle emerges from its host tree to seek new victims.
It kills ash trees from the inside out, and has a kill rate of 99 percent. So far, it has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America. Vermont has an estimated 150 million ash trees, about 5 percent of its tree total.
The borer been spreading slowly in Vermont, and most ash trees are not yet affected, but many towns are planning preventive steps if the beetle shows up locally, and efforts are being made to keep the beetle from spreading.
On its own, the vibrant green beetle can fly only about 2 miles per year, but much of the spread has been traced to firewood. To curb the beetle’s spread, state officials urge people to ask firewood sellers if their ash wood is treated for the pest. When camping, use only local wood.
To report sightings, help the effort, or for more information: vtinvasives.org.