Since the early 2000s, the Midwestern United States has been dealing with an population surge of the Asian-born Emerald Ash Borer. These small pests have spread through 28 counties in the state of Missouri alone, and were detected in St. Louis Park in April 2015. Twin City officials are now rolling out a whopping $2.5 million, 5-year plan to combat the growing infestation and protect the local ash tree population, which numbers one out of every five trees in the Twin City area.
City officials plan to cut down and remove about 13,000 ash trees from residential streets in the Twin Cities. While this will bring about dramatic changes to many neighborhoods, it is a necessary step as doing nothing at all poses a serious safety hazard for residents. The city does, however, hope to save roughly 1,000 ash trees with the help of chemical treatments. Chemical treatments are tricky, however, because they must be given before a tree is infected and must be retreated every 2 years.
While the city is attempting to purge trees on pubic property of the Emerald Ash, private properties are taking similar approaches to protect their trees. In addition to removing ash trees and applying pesticides, parasitic wasps that destroy Emerald Ash eggs before they hatch are also being used to combat the popular surge. Combating the beetles, however, is not the only problem facing the epidemic.
Unfortunately many residents of the Twin Cities are not aware of the dangers of the Emerald Ash Borer. Many homeowners have ash trees on their properties, but very few take precautionary measures to protect them from pests. This is mainly because pesticides and other protective measures can be very expensive, but in the end, they are ultimately worth it.