Ever since the Dutch Elm Disease and the Chestnut Blight, eastern North American foresters have been anticipating the next one. There are two: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer.

The former is established, but increasingly in New England it looks like it is going to be less of an extinction and more of an uneasy, armed truce. South of here, it is the complete destruction of a major forest type. A few degrees in temperature make all the difference. And it looks like some of the natural predators just might work…sufficient to establish a new equilibrium at least.

With the Emerald Ash Borer there is no respite through temperature. Unless they can figure out some predator wasps very quickly, ash is going to become a very rare tree rather than one that grows like a weed. It has spread from its introduction in Wisconsin, c. 2002, with frightening speed. Partially because the bug flies well, partially because people love their camp fire firewood, and they love to burn ash. Stop Moving firewood people!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_ash_borer

It really doesn’t matter how it got here, we knew it would, but I did not want to see this sight about two miles from my doorstep:

This was a very healthy ash, and one of five that we counted in less than an acre that were of that size (14 plus inches in diameter) and quality, all of which were clearly infested by EAB, plus uncounted ones beneath ten inches which were being attacked. All of them will be dead within a year or two. The blonde color is created not by the bugs, but by the woodpeckers chasing the hundreds of thousands of larvae beneath the bark. We should breed woodpeckers.