Invasive emerald ash borer confirmed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Forum topic by Milo posted 06-08-2012 04:02 AM 950 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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06-08-2012 04:02 AM

Some of us talked about transporting green wood across state lines. Here’s what’s happening in Tennessee because of wood transportation.

Invasive emerald ash borer confirmed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It’s bad news for the ash trees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it didn’t come as a surprise.

Last week, emerald ash borer beetles were discovered on the Tennessee side of the park, near Sugarlands Visitors Center and in the Greenbrier area, park officials said in a news release Thursday.

The release said routine inspection of traps turned up the invasive insects, which were sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist for confirmation.

The Agriculture Department had confirmed the presence of the beetle in Sevier County in January, making six Tennessee counties — with Blount, Grainger, Claiborne, Knox and Loudon — where it’s been found. Those counties are “quarantined,” prohibited from moving firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber and other materials out of the counties, in hopes of slowing the insect’s spread to other places.

The half-inch green beetle, a native of Asia, lays eggs in bark crevices in all species of ash trees. When the eggs hatch, larvae burrow under the bark to create feeding tunnels that interfere with the tree’s ability to properly use nutrients and fluids, gradually starving and ultimately killing the tree. The beetle leaves D-shaped holes in the bark as it emerges.

Since it was first discovered in the United States in Detroit, Mich., in 2002, it’s steadily spread, destroying millions of ash trees across the county.

The park, worried about high risk for infestation because of large numbers of visitors from already-infested counties, began trapping the beetles in 2008. After it was found in Sevier County in January, the state announced plans to place more purple beetle traps in East Tennessee trees this spring and summer.

Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said park management is evaluating a range of options to deal with the beetle in the park. Currently there are three insecticides — one applied by drilling holes directly into trees, the other two injected into soil — that have been shown effective in controlling the emerald ash borer. Other treatments are in development.

“Protecting the park’s biodiversity is of the utmost importance,” Ditmanson said. “We will carefully consider all options available to us before determining the best course of action in dealing with this invasive species.”

Meanwhile, a park-wide ban on firewood originating from locations with federal or state quarantines will continue, since it’s thought the transport of infested logs and firewood are the main way the beetle is spread. It’s believed to have arrived from Asia on wood packing material.

State officials ask Tennessee residents not to bring firewood from home on camping trips and not to buy firewood from outside the state unless it has been treated for the emerald ash borer.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

2 replies so far

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869 posts in 3315 days

#1 posted 06-08-2012 04:10 AM

The hemlock woolly adelgid is a nasty bug too. I see it on the hemlocks near my home. Seriously depressing.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2305 days

#2 posted 06-08-2012 12:10 PM

Send em my way they can have my ash trees ! The tdot (Tennessee Department of Transportation) Is going to build a road thru what few still standing on my properety. Pine bettles got the pine. I cut the walnuts. Wind got some oaks. Now they say walnuts in danger. There’s a huge Ash they are going to take abt. 30” thru i’m guessing 20’ to the first limb. It may have nails in it. Think it’s worth the risk to take it to a mill ? Plus about 10-15 more ash 10” -12” no nails.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

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