Emerald Ash Borer Establishes a Population in the Pacific Northwest

Emerald Ash Borer: There have been reports of the dreaded emerald ash borer (EAB) in western Oregon, which is only around 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Portland and a short distance from the coast.

According to the Emerald Ash Borer Network, the insidious beetle has now been found in 36 states, making the presence of the invasive EAB in Forest Grove, Oregon, bring the total number of states that have been damaged by infestations to 36.

In addition to this, the EAB has been observed in five other provinces in Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba.

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The fact that there have been no reports of verifiable sightings of the EAB in any of the contiguous states of Idaho, Washington, Nevada, or California is what makes the EAB’s existence in western Oregon so remarkable.

Emerald Ash Borer Establishes a Population in the Pacific Northwest

Even while the beetle population in Oregon is relatively small and isolated, there is still a significant cause for concern. Since it was initially detected near Detroit in 2002, the alien beetle has expanded in every direction, leaving behind hundreds of millions of dead ash trees in its wake. The tenacious insect is widely regarded as the most devastating species of forest pest in North America.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture required regulatory agencies to enforce quarantines and fines for a number of years to prevent infested ash trees, logs, or hardwood firewood from moving out of EAB-occupied areas.

This was done in order to prevent the spread of EAB. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stopped controlling the movement of ash trees and borer-infested woodlands in January of this year.

While making the statement, APHIS made the following observation: “The domestic quarantine restrictions for EAB have not considerably reduced the risk of introduction and establishment of the pest in quarantine-adjacent areas.”

Emerald Ash Borer Establishes a Population in the Pacific Northwest
Emerald Ash Borer Establishes a Population in the Pacific Northwest

A mated EAB is capable of flying up to 100 miles in her lifetime, which results in a high potential for natural spread. Interstate movement of EAB host articles is unrestricted within areas of contiguous quarantine, and regardless of human-assisted spread, a mated EAB is capable of flying up to 100 miles in her lifetime.

While it’s possible that the USDA has given up the fight, Oregon is just getting started. The Emergency Board of the state has given the go-ahead for the expenditure of more than half a million dollars in order to assist measures that would halt the spread of the annoying beetle.

Adult beetles, which are approximately half an inch in length, nibble on the foliage of ash trees but do not do significant damage. Their larvae, on the other hand, feed on the inner bark of ash trees, which interferes with the ability of the tree to transmit water and nutrients.

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