Emerald ash borer: Davey Tree Expert Co. studies ways to detect problem early

In this article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Julie Washington tells readers about Anand Persad, manager of plant sciences research for the Davey Institute, and his early detection emerald ash borer research. 

Posted: August 26, 2015

By Julie Washington

KENT, Ohio -- The larvae of the deadly emerald ash borer burrows beneath the bark of the ash tree, where it remains unseen. By the time an arborist notices dead branches or peeling bark, it's too late to save the tree.

What if the emerald ash borer could be detected earlier? A recently published study from the Davey Tree Expert Co., based in Kent, found ways to do just that. The information may help arborists save more ash trees.

Co-authors Anand Persad, manager of plant sciences research at Davey Tree Expert Co., and research entomologist Patrick C. Tobin, undertook a project involving ash trees in Northeast Ohio. Their study was published in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, published by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Tobin works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Here's an explanation of the research paper's findings and the emerald ash borer threat, in question-and-answer format. The answers were taken from the study, an interview with Persad and government websites.

How serious is the emerald ash borer threat?

Emerald ash borer, an ash tree-killing insect from Asia, was found in Ohio in 2003, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture website. The pest has spread and is now found throughout most of Ohio, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.

The emerald ash borer kills ash trees within three to five years of infestation. Adults are dark metallic green, 1/2 inch in length and 1/8 inch wide, and fly only from mid-May to September. Larvae spend the rest of the year developing beneath the bark. Ohio has more than 3.8 billion ash trees. See where infestations have been found in Ohio on this map.

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