Expert: Ash borers likely survived frigid winter

(WLFI Photo, file)
(WLFI Photo, file)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A Purdue University entomologist says an invasive insect that’s taken a big bite out of Indiana’s ash tree populations likely survived the frigid winter with few losses in its numbers.

Purdue exotic forest pest educator Adam Witte says the emerald ash borer’s larvae only die when temperatures reach minus 28 degrees beneath ash trees’ bark.

Witte says U.S. Forest Service scientists predict only parts of Minnesota and North Dakota become that cold.

Although some parts of the U.S. might see fewer emerald ash borer adults this spring, he says the insects’ high reproductive rate means the pests’ numbers will quickly rebound.

The emerald ash borer has been detected in 69 of Indiana’s 92 counties. The metallic-green beetle that’s native to Asia has decimated ash trees in several states since 2002.

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