The cold weather may be miserable, but it does have some benefits. According to Steve Whitaker, district forester at the Jasper-Pulaski Tree Nursery, prolonged periods of very cold weather has been shown to slow down the population growth of the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America.
Whitaker said there are still a considerable number of things that officials don’t know about the emerald ash borer, but studies have indicated that the prolonged periods of subzero temperatures can kill the insect, and this year’s intense winter should have an effect on the pest’s population.
“Fairly long periods of cold weather will reduce the number of borers that are out there, possibly by as much as 80 percent. It will not more than likely kill all of them, but it will reduce the population which will mean there are less of them out there next spring breeding, and less of them in the trees next year,” Whittaker said.
Whitaker said the emerald ash borer is spread throughout the nation at a rate of a few miles per year, unless its helped along in the process by people moving infected firewood.
Emerald ash borers are typically a bright, metallic, emerald green color overall, with the front wings usually appearing slightly duller and darker green. The overall greenish coloration may also have variable amounts of brassy, coppery or reddish reflections.
For more information on the emerald ash borer, visit http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/3443.htm.