The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plans to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Asian long-horned beetle in the area with another season of beetle hunting. With a heavy focus on surveys in the towns of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury, Holden and Auburn, the program will also continue to work with entomologists and foresters to further develop pheromone traps.
The emerald ash borer is a forester’s nightmare: the much detested insect was first detected in 2002 and has since felled over 100 million ash trees. Aside from the obvious damage and injuries caused by falling trees, the barren streets and parks have been linked to a more long-term problem: higher rates of death from cardiovascular and respiratory tract illnesses.
With the spring weather comes the arrival of the “high risk period” for overland transmission of oak wilt disease. This disease, which fatally affects the water vessels of oak trees, is most transmissible when oak wilt fungal mats are present on trees killed the previous year and when sap-feeding beetles are active. To help prevent the spread of the disease, experts warn to put the pruning tools away: the beetles are attracted to fresh wounds on oak trees.
The hemlock woolly adelgid has crept steadily west, ravaging trees in more than 30 counties, since arriving in Kentucky in 2006. By targeting the state’s 80 million evergreen hemlocks, the adelgid threatens some of the most sensitive local ecosystems. Without a natural predator, the pest feeds on starches inside the trees, producing up to 300 offspring a year.
Mountain pine beetles have destroyed millions of acres of forest in the Rocky Mountain West. The marred wood left behind is difficult to clear, creating safety risks such as fire hazards. However, designers in Colorado and Montana are finding new ways to use this excess pine.
In the late 1800s, 25% of hardwood trees in North America’s eastern forest were American chestnuts. 40 meters high and 2 meters across, they provided abundant resources for both people and wildlife in the form of food, shelter, and building materials.
There’s good news and there’s bad news: according to a new survey by the U.S. Forest Service, an outbreak of spruce beetles continues to accelerate across hundreds of square miles of new forest in Colorado, even as a much larger outbreak of the similar mountain pine beetle continues to slow across Wyoming, Colorado and the Black Hills.
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