Friday, September 28, 2018

Racking our brains on solutions to Emerald ash Borer by Robert Fogg

As you may or may not know, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an ash-tree-killing-insect, is slowly working its way in our direction with a hunger for our ash trees. It no longer appears to be a question of if EAB will get here, but when. 

When that time comes, which may be within the next few years, our ash trees with be under attack and many, if not most, will die. Yes, it is possible to inject individual trees with insecticide to prolong, or maybe even save their lives, but it is not practical or economically feasible to protect even a small fraction of our ash trees, especially those in the forest.

Knowing the problem is imminent has gotten my brain in gear, thinking of ways to avoid the devastation. I recently sent an email up to the Maine Department of Conservation, partly in jest and partly serious, listing off some possible solutions. Here is a sample of the wording in that email:

“Regarding the impending invasion of EAB, I have to wonder if it might be possible to spray or inject the ash trees with something that would mask their ash scent or make them unattractive to EAB. 
How about injecting them with maple syrup to make them smell like a maple tree? Another possibility, is to unleash some insect or bird that would eat EAB before they lay eggs? Maybe we protect individual trees by spraying sticky goop or grease on them or armor plating them in some way? 

We need to keep the bugs from mating (and thus reproducing). Maybe opera music would give them a headache or keep them from getting in the mood for love. Since they are attracted to purple traps, maybe we need a LOT more purple traps. If they like purple, maybe there are colors they dislike. We could paint the ash tree trunks yellow or white.  How about electrical current or some special frequency sound, vibration, nets…..or?  ..or vibration? The possibilities are endless.” 

As I said, much of the letter was in jest, but the answer just might come from some seemingly stupid idea. If you’ve got an idea, stupid or not, feel free to share it with me. Maybe, just maybe it will be the answer we need. Let’s not give up without a fight.

This article was brought to you by Robert Fogg, Licensed Arborist and General Manager of Q-Team Tree Service. See their ad on page 14.

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