By Amber Ellis
Originally from eastern Russia and northeastern Asia, the emerald ash borer found its way to southeastern Michigan through infested cargo ships in 2002 and quickly became North America’s most destructive forest pest. Since then, the invasive beetle has plagued forests in 22 states, including most of Appalachia and, as of June, five more counties in East Tennessee.
The pest’s larvae bores under an ash tree’s bark, destroying the nutrient and water transport systems and starving the canopy until the entire tree dies. To contain the spread of the emerald ash borer and other invasive pests, experts urge residents and visitors to avoid transporting firewood of any kind.