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Workshop targets emerald ash borer's arrival in Simcoe County
March 19, 2015
By Cheryl Browne

An unwanted guest is coming for dinner and bringing its kids.

News that the emerald ash borer (EAB) reached Simcoe County in 2014 has been greeted with everything from fear to dread.

“We believe it arrived in infested wood used for packaging from Asia in 2002,” said Alisha Tobola, a forestry technician with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA).

In the ensuing dozen years, the ash borer has lived up to its name, chomping its way from a woodlot in Windsor through ash trees in Southern Ontario and Quebec, Tobola said.

“It has no natural predator (in Ontario) but there are several things you can do,” she said.

While the county's forestry officials confirm its arrival by attaching sticky baskets to ash trees, owners of ash trees can attend a workshop on March 28 to find out how to prepare for the infestation to their woodlots.

“We can confirm definitively that the EAB is in portions of our watershed,” said Rick Grillmayer, forestry program co-ordinator at the NVCA.

“The dynamics of a forest are always changing,” Grillmayer said. “Since the introduction of the emerald ash borer, infected ash trees are declining at an alarming rate. Treatment options are available but costly and are generally not viable in forests with a large ash component.”

Landowners can treat their ash trees with an insecticide injection into the trunk of the tree. An injection is required every two years and costs about $200. Researchers are also looking into biological controls to combat the insect.

Tobola says forestry management experts are using a parasitic wasp in some areas to control the spread.

As the borer goes through several stages of its life, it lays eggs under the bark of a tree and spends one or two years feeding off the bark before, as a mature insect, it leaves the trunk and chews the foliage. The wasp lays its eggs directly into the ash borer's larvae, which is then consumed.

Tobola said wasps have been released into several areas in Ontario, but doesn't believe it's been done in the NVCA area, which includes Simcoe County and parts of Dufferin and Grey counties.

“I think they'll do a bunch of testing to ensure it's safe to use, but only certain areas are allowed,” she said.

To find out more, woodlot owners are invited to a free forest management workshop at the NVCA offices at the Tiffin Centre at 8195 8th Line in Utopia on Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

For more information, visit or call 705-424-1479.