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Tree-killing beetle ID'd in another Ohio county



Published: Thu, July 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The beetle has been found in seven Ohio counties.

DELAWARE, Ohio (AP) -- Evidence of the tree-killing emerald ash borer beetle has been found in Delaware County, the Ohio Department of Agriculture said.

Officials said several trees in a condominium complex just south of the city of Delaware show signs of infestation by the beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in Michigan and northwest Ohio.

State agriculture department workers found borer larvae chewing beneath the bark of at least one ash tree.

The borer embeds itself within ash wood, gnawing at vital layers beneath the surface and cutting off the tree's nourishment.

Workers normally would try to halt the spread of the bugs by chopping down and burning ash trees in the immediate vicinity.

No funds

But agriculture department officials said they don't have the money to do that because the agency didn't get the $10 million in federal funds the agency requested to combat the borer.

Ash-tree cutting throughout Ohio has been halted and won't resume until 2006 funding comes through, possibly in the fall, officials said.

However, experts say the ash borer probably won't continue to spread in Delaware County because most female beetles have already lodged themselves in ash trees to lay eggs and new bugs won't emerge until next year.

Officials suspect humans had something to do with the beetle coming to Delaware County.

The insects have spread through nursery trees, lumber and firewood.

"The human factor is huge," said Lucia Hunt, an emerald ash borer survey coordinator for the agriculture department. "People just see firewood, and we see emerald ash borer habitat."

The beetle has been found in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa and Wood counties near Toledo. It was also found in Franklin County, but state officials say it has been eradicated there.




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