May 28, 2014
By Rob Cooper
A bug that’s already killed billions of trees across North America is moving north.
The emerald ash borer is on the march and the destructive insect has ash trees in Simcoe County in its sights. Now, all ash trees in Simcoe County - and beyond - could be doomed because of the invasive Emerald ash borer.
Graeme Davis, a forester for the County of Simcoe, says the insect has been confirmed in Bradford and it’s likely just a matter of time before the bugs kill trees in the rest of the county.
A tree damaged by the emerald ash borer beetle is seen in this image courtesy the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“They are fatal essentially for ash trees so really there's been very little resistance,” he says. “We are losing 99 per cent of our ash trees.”
The insect has killed an estimated 10 billion trees in North America since just before the year 2000.
Now, to get a better idea of where the insect is and just how many there are, crews are placing dozens of traps in ash trees all over the county.
“The insect would be attracted to these traps. They stick to it,” Davis says. “So we can come back and check and see if we have emerald ash borer in this immediate vicinity.”
Davis says once the bug is found in a tree it's usually too late, though he says there’s a liquid chemical that can be injected into the tree to try and save it.
To help keep the insect from moving around, people are being asked to only use local fire wood. People are also being asked to leave the traps alone - not to touch them or move them.
The emerald ash borer hasn’t been seen in the District of Muskoka yet.
In all, 60 of the traps are being placed around the county, and crews will collect samples at the end of August.