Experts discuss the Emerald Ash Borer before the dangerous Asian beetle becomes a problem in our state.
The informational hearing at the state capitol focuses on prevention, detection, eradication, suppression and disposition of the shiny green bug. Kathy Pielsticker with the Ag Department hopes to find the bug early, before it establishes a home in our state, like it has in neighboring states. “It is a pest unlike any pest we've had before … hard to detect and hard to eradicated.”
The Emerald Ash Borer was first identified in the US in Detroit in 2002. Pielsticker says since then, they have learned a lot, but she quickly adds, there is still a lot yet to be learned. We do know that the bug mainly travels from state-to-state by clinging to firewood. Currently, Ash trees have to be destroyed in order to get rid of the bugs. Pielsticker hopes there will eventually be a better way to deal with the damaging beetle.
Pielsticker says there is an enormous economic natural resource at stake in Wisconsin. “If E-A-B becomes established in Wisconsin it could destroy all of Wisconsin's 717-million Ash forest trees at a cost of over $1-billion, and destroy 5.4-million Ash street trees at a cost of $2-to-3-million.”
The replacement value of Wisconsin's urban Ash trees is $1.5 billion. And that does not include the cost of removal or the lost environmental benefits. Some management options include education, chemical control and seed preservation.