Ash Borers Attack Trees
Inside the Outdoors, August 7,
2015

Before I bring to the table today’s subject at hand, I want to share an interesting tidbit area residents have shared with me lately.

This has to do with the abundance of trout still in the Loyalhanna Creek and the few anglers trying to catch them. I have gotten reports that massive amounts of trout can be found between the causeway at Sleepy Hollow all the way down to Legion Keener Park and beyond.

People are catching a variety of species from brooks to rainbows on lures and flies.

Recently I caught a 12-inch rainbow on a new product I have been promoting for
sometime – the Super Rooster Tail. A matter of fact, I nailed a smallmouth bass with
it minutes later. The crazy thing is they are hard to find around here on the East
Coast. Searching the Internet, I was fortunate to find one dealer who carried them.
The bottom line, the pearl-colored one does work!

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Many of you who may have visited Legion Keener Park recently have observed a
number of trees that have been cut down. The culprit behind the elimination of
these mighty growths is that the Emerald Ash Borer attacked them.

Quite some time ago, I spoke about the invasive earthworms and how they are
eating the roots of the hardwood forests and inadvertently wiping out those trees
throughout the country. Now we have another critter to deal with, the invasive
Emerald Ash Borer.

According to an article written in The New York Times, June 13, 2014, by Maggie
Koerth-Baker, “The effects will go beyond what you see on a hike or how you feel
about the loss of a tree on your property. They will ripple through forest
ecosystems, affecting other plants, animals and water supplies.”

“In what stage of life do Emerald ash borers cause destruction to trees?” one may
ask.

“Emerald ash borers do their damage as larvae,” stated Ms. Koerth-Baker, “eating
into the bark and burrowing deep into the trunk to insulate themselves against the
cold. In the process, they cut off access to the nutrients and water that the tree needs
to survive; it is like severing a human’s network of veins and arteries,” she said.

It all begins in spring when the species mate and a new generation makes its
presence known. What follows are more larvae to tunnel through the trees’ eternal
organs.

We are seeing the last of the ash trees in our country, a research entomologist with
the United State Forest Service. Andrew M. Liebold stated, “Ninety-nine percent of
the ashes in North America are probably going to die,” he said.

And if one thinks only the few trees that were cut down in Legion Keener Park are
affected, there are others found along Truman Avenue, the walking path and
beyond. All together, there are 14 ash trees that can be seen along that path alone
that are infested with larvae from the Emerald ash borers all of which are going to
be cut down in the very near future.

According to Jarod Trunzo, executive director of the Latrobe Community
Revitalization Program, “There are many varieties of other trees we will plant in
their place.”

Another question that may surface is, “Can these species be eradicated so that
further trees will not die?” The answer is “No,” these insects have been around too
long. That is the same as the invasive earthworms. They have been here much too
long and have spread out over a large area. Only if both species could have been
detected and localized could procedures be put in place to eliminate them.

In furthering my research, I learned that the Emerald ash borer has reached out to
another tree, the white fringetree. It is native to the United States and grows wild
from New Jersey south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. This is the
finding of Professor Don Cipollini from Wright State University.

“It may have a wider host range than we ever thought in the first place, or it is
adapting to utilizing new hosts,” he said. “This biological invasion is really
something to worry about. It’s having drastic ecological and economic
consequences, and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen.”

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I can’t say enough about Tim Vechter who recently was highlighted on the front
page of the Latrobe Bulletin, Tuesday, July 28, in an article written by Chris Ulicne,
titled, Heaps of trash pulled out of Loyalhanna Creek by local volunteer.

Tim would often stop by my booth at the Latrobe Farmers’ Market and share
with me his photography whether it be the eagles, egrets or in this case junk he had
gathered from the creek.

Thanks to Tim, our tourist community is more attractive more than ever!


- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.