- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state agriculture department says Union Parish has become the fourth Louisiana parish where authorities have found an invasive beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in North America.

A news release says the U.S. Forestry Service trapped the emerald ash borer. It’s among four state and federal agencies that have set out more than 470 traps statewide for the metallic green, half-inch-long beetle.

Adults nibble on leaves, but it’s the larvae that do the biggest damage, eating the inner bark that carries water and nutrients.

Louisiana’s ash trees are primarily located along the Atchafalaya Basin and the Mississippi River Delta with many ash trees also planted in urban settings.

Emerald ash borers are believed to have arrived in packing material from Asia. They were first discovered in Detroit in 2002, and have now been found in 25 states.

They already were known to be in Bossier, Claiborne and Webster parishes, where quarantine forbids moving untreated ash wood outside the quarantine area. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says in a news release that quarantine restrictions are pending in Union Parish.

Early last year, the Forest Service and the LSU AgCenter began releasing non-stinging wasps that bring emerald ash borer larvae to their nests as food for their own larvae. More than 20,000 of the wasps will be released this year at two or three sites in northeastern Louisiana, the news release said.

Three species of wasps are being released, according to the AgCenter.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the largest species is mosquito-sized. It says one species lays its eggs on the beetle’s larvae, another lays eggs in the larvae, and the third lays its eggs inside the beetle’s eggs.

Louisiana’s agriculture department says firewood should be bought within 10 miles of the spot where it will be burned. When traveling, the department says, burn firewood where you purchased it and make sure to burn all of it.

___

Online:

https://www.emeraldashborer.info/

USDA on the pest https://1.usa.gov/207LF1F

parasitic wasp FAQ: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2014/faq_eab_biocontrol.pdf


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