No ash borers found on MDI

Foresters have been vigilant in watching for emerald ash borers on MDI, deploying purple traps like this one; the invasive pest can have devastating effects on ash trees.

BAR HARBOR — Foresters deployed triangular purple traps on MDI this year this year as part of a statewide effort to defend against an invasive beetle species known as the emerald ash borer.

Now that the traps have been taken down for the season, researchers say that the devastating bug is so far nonexistent on Mount Desert Island. However, they still say that the area is one of those most at risk for an infestation.

The shiny green beetles arrived in the country around 2002, and showed up in areas of upstate New York and Quebec last year. Since that time, Maine and other New England states have ramped up their defense efforts, said Terry L. Bourgoin, state plant health director with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The emerald ash borer is a very destructive pest, and it has already killed millions of ash trees across the United States,” Mr. Bourgoin said. “For a while we tried to do what we could to eradicate it, but it’s a fairly strong flyer. At this point, it’s really an impossible thing to eradicate.”

But though the bug’s advance cannot be prevented, it can be slowed down with early detection, which may give scientists a better chance of finding a remedy, Maine state entomologist Dave Struble said in a press release.

“We can’t stop emerald ash borer in its tracks, but if we know where it is, we can slow it down,” Mr. Struble said.

For more environmental news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]