Kentucky officials are keeping an eye on the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer. This tiny pest has killed ash trees throughout the northeastern United States and was recently spotted in the Bluegrass state. University of Kentucky entomologist Lee Townsend says humans are inadvertently spreading the borer when they transport firewood.
“This is a time of year people are going out on camping trips and fishing trips. And it’s a good time that firewood containing the ash borer can be moved. And that’s been one of the primary problems in having this insect jump several hundred miles at a time in its distribution,” says Townsend.
Townsend says that is likely the way in which the ash borer was able to cross into Kentucky from Indiana. He says the impact of the infestation could be devastating for the state and especially for Louisville, where ash trees make up about 17 percent of the city’s tree population.
Note: Townsend says that concerned property owners can call their county extension agent’s office if they suspect an ash borer infestation.