November meeting: Invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer

Wednesday, Nov. 6

Social time starts at 6:30 pm. Meeting at 7 pm. Speaker begins at approximately 7:30 pm.  

Emerald ash borer (EAB) decimated many thousands of ash trees, killing virtually all species of ash trees in the genus Fraxinus. Five major species of ash trees in the U.S. are on the brink of extinction due to EAB. First discovered in Michigan in 2002, it has since made its way across much of the Midwest. Texas sightings occurred in three counties adjacent to Louisiana and Arkansas in 2016. In 2018, Texas Parks & Wildlife biologist Sam Kieschnick recognized an EAB in an iNaturalist posting by a young man in Tarrant County. Though Dallas is amidst these sightings, EAB has not been confirmed in the county, though it seems just a matter of time — a serious situation since more than 40% of the Great Trinity Forest consists of ash trees.

Dr. Mike Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist based in Dallas, will discuss the possible ecological impacts of EAB devastation in North Texas and hopes for control. He will educate how to identify the EAB and its damage patterns in trees, and relay how Texas Master Naturalists can help mitigate this potential arboreal crisis.

According to Texas A&M Extension, “Adult beetles feed on ash leaves and deposit eggs on the bark of their ash hosts. The eggs hatch and the tiny larvae penetrate the bark to feed on water-conducting tissues inside the tree. Within 2-3 years the tree loses the ability to conduct sap and succumbs to the infestation. Within ten years of initial invasion all untreated ash trees in an invaded area perish. When it comes to ecological destruction, the EAB is practically without peer among exotic insect pests.”

More information:

  • http://www.emeraldashborer.info/
  • https://citybugs.tamu.edu/2018/07/23/emerald-ash-borer-makes-a-move/

Dr. Merchant designs informational materials and training programs to help reduce pesticide use and promote the use of low impact pesticides for schools and other institutional facilities. He develops training materials and continuing education programs on pests and integrated pest management for the public. His research interests include control of fire ants in electrical equipment and urban landscapes; low impact pesticides; spider management; documentation of Formosan Termite range expansion in Texas; and improvement of existing termite control technologies.

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