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Energy & Environment

Emerald Ash Borer Has Descended On Mecklenburg County

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City of Charlotte
The Emerald Ash Borer first appeared in North Carolina in 2013. The insects just showed up in the Charlotte region recently.

Move over cankerworm. There’s a new pest on the block. The Emerald Ash Borer, known for killing ash trees, has arrived in Charlotte. First spotted in North Carolina in 2013, Assistant City Arborist Laurie Reid says it was only a matter of time before the beetle made its way to Mecklenburg and neighboring counties. 

The invasive insect, recognized by its metallic, green exterior, feeds on trees' tissues that move nutrients up and down the trunk. The Emerald Ash Borer completely kills ash trees within two years, if left untreated.

Reid only recently had her first sighting of the beetle in Charlotte. The best way to deal with this pest, she says, is to be proactive.

“The biggest thing is for people to be aware - to learn if they have an ash tree, either on their property or near their property - and start thinking about what sort of management they want to do to preserve their tree or remove their trees proactively," says Reid. 

Thinning leaves and small holes in the tree bark are telltale signs that the beetle is settling in to its new home.  The city plans to inject pesticides under the bark of ash trees to stop the insect from spreading. Charlotte has a number of ash trees, but they’re not nearly as common as oak or pine.

Reid says Emerald Ash Borers are hard to get rid of and expects the region could be combating them for up to 20 years.  

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