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Park confirms emerald ash borer infestation in backcountry

EMERALD ASH BORER
Published: 6:30 PM, 11/23/2012 Last updated: 6:30 PM, 11/23/2012
 


Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Park Resource Managers recently confirmed the Smokies first backcountry emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation.

According to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Biologist, Glenn Taylor, "The emerald ash borer is a 1/2 inch-long metallic green beetle that lays eggs on the bark on all species of ash trees. After hatching, the EAB larvae burrow under the bark, and create feeding tunnels that cut off nutrient and water flow to the tree. The tree can die in three to five years." Accidentally introduced to North America from Asia, EAB was first discovered in southeast Michigan in 2002, and has spread to 16 states and two Canadian provinces killing tens of millions of ash trees.

Since 2009, officials have been monitoring for the presence of EAB.  Front country infestations were confirmed in June 2012 at Sugarlands Visitor Center and at the Greenbrier entrance to the Park. An off-duty park employee discovered the backcountry infestation on Injun Creek Trail in the Greenbrier area on Nov. 8, 2012. The employee noticed a pile of bark chips at the base of several ash trees. Signs of woodpecker activity on ash trees is an excellent indicator of an EAB infestation. 

For more details, please see the weekend edition of the Newport Plain Talk.

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