A Wright State University researcher has found evidence that the emerald ash borer beetle has found a new type of host.
Lewis Wallace of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs reports.
The emerald ash borer was first detected in southeast Michigan about 12 years ago, and it has decimated ash tree populations fanning out from there. Yellow Springs resident and Wright State biologist Don Cipollini had a suspicion that another tree, the ornamental but native White Fringetree, could be a host. He went tree-to-tree along the bike path near his house looking for signs of ash borers.
Cipollini: ...And it was about the fourth tree that I found a characteristic exit hole.
Cipollini is still working to verify the bug’s identity, and it’s not clear yet whether it will kill the infested Fringetrees. But he says his initial findings have big implications. When the borer is done with the ash tree, it could just find a new host.
Cipollini: It’s just one of these lessons I think about it being hard to predict what an invasive species might do.
An estimated one in ten trees in Ohio is an ash tree—the economic impact of losing those is estimated in the billions.