Harsh winter not enough to kill Ash Borer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — This past winter was brutal and harsh, but it was not enough to impact the local Emerald Ash Borer insect population.

Ellen Speicher, assistant horticulture director at Mill Creek MetroParks, said it just was not cold enough.

“The larvae are good at surviving cold weather and would really need to get temperatures ranged from minus-20 to minus-30 to really impact the population,” Speicher said.

She estimates only a small percentage of the insects were killed during the cold snap at the beginning of the year.

“We would estimate only about 10 percent of the larvae were killed, but that is barely going to slow down the progression of the insect,” Speicher said.

Kevin Crump, with The Davey Tree Expert Company in Kent, said there are a few options to help slow down the progression of the Emerald Ash Borer. One is known as a systemic treatment, which also is healthy for the environment.

“We put some insecticide into the roots. It becomes part of the tree and then it works on the insects from the inside out. That is the most eco-friendly way to go,” Crump said.

He said he can’t even estimate how many ash trees have been lost because of the infestation, which started over a decade ago.

“I don’t even know if I can quantify that at this point. The numbers are large and they keep growing every day,” Crump said.

Experts say only 5 percent of the trees impacted survive.


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