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image An emerald ash borer rests on a rock near Smelter Road.

February 20, 2014
Emerald ash borer is one of the most destructive insects in US

Beetles of the family of Buprestidae are known for their luminous and glossy appearances and therefore called jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles. Belonging to this family, the emerald ash borer can look deceivingly innocent for its green shiny color and small growth of 8 millimeters, but it is in fact one of the most destructive insects to hit our country.

Natively found in eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea, the emerald ash borer was accidentally introduced to Canada and the U.S. in the 1990s. In 2002, it was spotted throughout certain states.

This beetle has devastating advantages that occur quickly, including reproduction, spreading and death of hosted trees. The emerald ash borer mainly seeks ash trees for two functions: food and egg-laying.

During late May, females will begin laying eggs inside the crevices of the ash tree bark, which will hatch one to two weeks later. The hatched larvae causes S-shaped curvy tunnels inside the tree and will dine for weeks on the tree’s cambium, which is where many nutrients are stored in a tree. This infestation of larvae alone kills ash trees in a period of one or two years.

Continuing to devour through late July and early August, the larvae reaches adulthood, but they will most likely stay in the tree until mid-May. When that day comes, adults emerge from the center of the tree only to fly to the leaves for their next source of food.

After only two weeks from emerging from the tree, the emerald ash borer will mate and lay more eggs for the process to repeat. As a matter of fact, the beetle generally only lives one or two seasons and will lay up to 100 eggs in its lifetime.

 

Addie T. Lindsay is 17 years old. She is an accomplished writer and photographer of wildlife creatures, big and small. She can be reached at CritterChatter@Live.com.

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