WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - If ash trees line your landscape, then you could soon be affected by a serious pest that is currently moving through the Carolinas. Experts say the pest is an expensive issue too.
We're talking about the Emerald Ash Borer. It's a a tree-killing pest that can spread rapidly. Since 2002, the insect has killed more than 50 million Ash trees.
The pest is a little tiny beetle that moved from China to Michigan around 2002.
During the infestation process, the beetle is in its larval stage and boars underneath the ash tree bark and feeds on the tree, cutting off the water supply from the roots up and killing the tree.
The borer has already killed millions of trees in the Midwest and it is said to be moving south through the Carolinas. It has already been detected in a few northern counties of North Carolina.
Another issue with this particular pest is that there are no natural predators that would kill the beetle--entomologists are working to find some, but that process could take years.
Although the ash tree is not a prevalent part of the North Carolina forest, it still is very visible in the landscape of the cape fear region.
Ken Kukorowski with Bayer Advanced said once your tree is affected, things can get ugly and expensive.
"What really got the folks up north is when the State Department of Agriculture sent them a letter saying your area is infested, you need to remove the trees and here's the bill to do it," he said.
Kukorowski added there are some preventative steps you can take.
Here's what you can do to identify if you have an ash tree in your yard:
Go to a nursery or county extension service and just take in a few samples of your tree's leaves to make sure the compound leaves on your tree are in fact Ash tree leaves.
The next step is to make sure you stay in touch with your extension service to find out if this particular pest has invaded your county.
As of right now, the Borer is not in New Hanover County.
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