Kitchener begins battle with emerald ash borer
Published Thursday, June 2, 2011 6:05PM EDT
Emerald ash borer beetles were first discovered in the south end of Kitchener in 2010, and now the city has begun to investigate just how far the problem has spread.
Kitchener is installing 30 fluorescent green insect traps on ash trees around the city to determine the extent of the infestation. In total there are 4,500 ash trees in the city.
The beetles were first found in the area of Homer Watson Boulevard and Highway 401 and another infected tree was found over the winter, but there are concerns about how far the damaging pest could have spread.
The traps will help to study the spread of the beetle and then, hopefully help the city control and then eliminate the potential problem. Residents are being asked not to disturb them.
Dave Schmitt of the City of Kitchener says the traps will likely be taken down sometime in August, and then the process of examining them will begin.
"We have to go through each of the traps, we have to look at the insects that are on the traps, and we have to identify if we have emerald ash borer on those traps. We'll start to count the numbers and with that information we can get a sense of the extent of the [emerald ash borer] across the city and its population levels."
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the emerald ash borer beetle has already been blamed for killing millions of ash trees in southwestern Ontario, Michigan and surrounding states.
Schmitt says "It was first found back in the early 2000 in the Windsor-Detroit area, and it has since that point moved through into the Toronto area, into London and just as of August we found it in the Region of Waterloo."
Originally from China, it attacks and kills almost all species of ash, and its quick spread is partly being blamed on people moving infested materials and firewood to new areas.
Waterloo Region and surrounding areas already fall under regulations to prevent the spread of the beetle. You can find more information on the CFIA website at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/pestrava/agrpla/agrplae.shtml
Residents are concerned that they could lose the majestic ash trees if the problem spreads.
Liz Leedham says "I just hope they can do something about it because these ash trees are beautiful and we wouldn't have any shade in the street if they were gone."
And there is reason to worry. If the infestation gets worse, the city says it will cut all 4,500 ash trees in Kitchener and have to re-plant them, at a cost of $4.5 million.