Bug inching towards ND could wipe out more than half of our trees

Picture the Peace Garden State with just about no trees.
While we may not have the most compared to other states, the ones we do have could be at risk thanks to a certain type of bug.

That bug is the Emerald Ash Borer, a type of beetle that is native to Asia but has mad its way to 33 states.

“We have , 1,2,3,4 ash trees just right here next to each other – imagine what it would look like without them,” city forester Bryan Johnson said.

The possibility of being without these trees would be thanks to the Emerald Ash Borer.

The city takes care of about 5,000 ash trees on public property.
But there’s likely double that amount throughout Minot – and more than 90 million across the state.

“Its a dominant species, it did really well. It could handle our climates, it could handle our soil situation,” said Johnson, “so we just planted the daylights out of it and all of a sudden this insect comes and we’re like, ‘uh oh’.”

So imagine walking through the park with about half of the trees missing.  Not only would it be really bare, but removing those trees would be really expensive.
Johnson said, “With all the trees that we have, just the Minot Park District, would be about 2.5 million dollars to have them removed.”

If that’s the case, even your water bills could spike without the shade protecting your lawn.

All because of this-
“The larva that they lay on the outer part of the bark bores into the tree and basically plugs up the plumbing of the tree so no nutrients and water can get up to the top of the tree and after a couple of years, the tree gives up and dies,” Johnson explained.

Right now, ash borers have been found in Minnesota, South Dakota and in Winnipeg.

While they can spread slowly, to prevent a faster travel to North Dakota, the Department of Agriculture asks that people buy firewood from local sources only – do not bring any in from out of state.

“A mature beetle can fly maybe a half a mile at the most. So it’s not traveling all by himself, he’s hitching a ride.”

So if the trees die off, not only would North Dakota be a lot less green, but the danger of them breaking down before they’re able to be removed could pose a pretty big problem as well.

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