MARQUETTE - Emerald Ash Borer University, an effort launched by Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State universities, has expanded nationwide to help those facing the invasive species, the emerald ash borer beetle.
The university now offers webinars to help people better understand the emerald ash borer or agrilus planipennis fairmaire. Some of the topics for the webinars include recent research on the emerald ash borer, what homeowners need to know to recognize and manage emerald ash borer, preparing municipalities for emerald ash borer and many other useful topics.
"We've (also) expanded it to other wood boring insects that affect mostly forests and wooded areas," said Robin Usborne, communications manager at Michigan State University.
An example of an emerald ash borer trap seen hanging in a tree in the Marquette area. The traps are a part of an effort to stop the progression of the destructive beetle. (Journal file photo)
Usborne was one of three women from three different universities in the Midwest who founded the Emerald Ash Borer University three years ago. Jodie Ellis from Purdue University and Amy Stone from Ohio State University also helped with the EAB University. They get the bulk of their funding from the U.S. Forest Service.
"A lot of folks really, really like (the webinars)," Usborne said. "I hope to widen our scope and continue to benefit from the program."
The EAB is a beetle that is emerald green in color and can kill millions of ash tree trees alone. They are believed to have arrived in the U.S. by attaching themselves to wood shipping crates that have come over from China, Usborne said.
"We done a genetic study on the emerald ash borer in China and here and the genetics of the two are very close," Usborne said.
The EAB will burrow into the ash trees' bark and lay their eggs in them leaving a D-shaped hole behind. The larva then hatch and a beginning eating the trees' phloem layer, the inner most layer of the bark. The phloem layer is the layer of the tree that carries the organic nutrients to the rest of the tree where needed.
"So basically the larva are strangling the trees," Usborne said.
Trying to identify the emerald ash borer can be challenging for those who are not experts on the subject. There are quite a few other large jewel beetles that are metallic in color and woodboring.
The EAB is metallic emerald green overall, with some duller and slightly darker green. The overall greenish coloration may also have some amounts of brassy, coppery or reddish reflections, especially on the top and underside of the beetle.
A few rare specimens of emerald ash borer are entirely coppery-red, entirely bluish-green or green with bluish wing cases. They are no longer the 10 mm to 13 mm in length are and are in general somewhat larger in size and more brightly metallic green then most other U.S. agrilus species.
The top surface of the emerald ash borer's abdomen is bright coppery-red and is only visible in the wing cases and when its wings are raised. Though emerald ash borer is the only agrilus species found in North America that has a bright metallic red abdomen. This may be the simplest diagnostic characteristic for separating EAB from all other agrilus in North America.
For more information on how to identify the EAB and treatment options visit www.Emeraldashborer.info or call 866-325-0023 if you suspect you may have EAB in your ash trees.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500.