Deadlier than Dutch Elm: U.S. Trees Stricken by a Plague of Ash Borers - TIME
To walk down a street in a town such as Midland, Michigan these days is to witness mass carnage — ash trees, long a favorite of city arborists for their tall silhouettes and abundant foliage, have been cut to the quick, leaving nothing but row upon row of stumps and a scattering of sawdust behind. A voracious beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer, first discovered in Detroit in 2002, has been gradually spreading, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The infestation has already killed some 60 million ash trees in fifteen states as far east as New York, which just launched an ash borer awareness program, and as far south as Tennessee. The toll of dead trees will likely surpass those felled Dutch Elm disease by the end of this year. "It is now the most destructive forest insect ever to invade North America," says Deb McCullough, an entomologist at Michigan State University. "We literally cannot keep up with it."