By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — According to Goshen’s city forester, one little bug could wipe out the maples in the Maple City.
It’s the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB) and it’s currently eating and destroying maple trees in Cincinnati.
“It’s a huge black beetle that turns trees into Swiss cheese,” said Annemarie Nagle, a forest pest outreach coordinator with Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette. “The costs? A lot of trees, heartache and money. We want to inform people and minimize the risk here in Indiana.”
A seminar was held Tuesday at Rieth Interpretive Center in Goshen with five presenters from Purdue and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, including Nagle.
The ALB are moved from place to place in firewood when people go camping.
“We advise...don’t move firewood. It (ALB) could be hiding and be missed,” Nagle said. “The beetles have been around for awhile, it’s a high concern. There has been some active infestation in other states, but Ohio is the closet one.”
What’s the test to determine if Asian long-horned beetles have attacked a maple tree? Nagle calls it the “No. 2 pencil test.”
“If a No. 2 pencil fits inside the bored hole perfectly, it’s most likely been made by one (an ALB),” Nagle said.
She says the beetles “have a wide palette” since they are destructive to different types of hardwood trees.
Goshen city forester Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley added the ALB has been eradicated from Chicago.
“It took 10 years to eradicate it at a cost of $70 million dollars,” said Sawatsky-Kingsley. “It has been found over in Massachusetts. They have been working at it for five years. They have taken down 28,000 trees to the tune of $24 million dollars. You can beat this bug but they do it by removing trees that have been infested. It’s easy to infest a tree.”
Since half of the trees in Goshen are maple, the effect could be devastating if the ALB were to show up, he added.
“We could lose half of our trees. It would change the face of our city,” Sawatsky-Kingsley said. “It’s hard to visualize what it would feel or look like without maples. The seminar is to let people know what to look for and what to do. With the ALB, the federal government comes in and picks up the tab, but we contribute to that, so to minimize incidences is important.”
The beetle does not move in any aggressive way.
“It prefers to eat and eat where it’s at. It does shows up elsewhere because someone moved infested wood. Education is the key to tell people to not move firewood,” he said. “We need to increase their awareness. People need to leave their wood at home. If one reason people like to go camping is to enjoy the woods, then they should be willing to keep (their) wood at home and not take the chance to destroy woods at a campground.”
Another topic at the seminar included Thousand cankers black walnut disease, which affects black walnut trees from a fungus and the walnut twig beetle, Sawatsky-Kingsley added.
It’s another newer disease and experts have tracked it in the Midwest for four years. It has been found in Tennessee and possibly in Ohio this year.
“It kills black walnuts (trees), which are one of the primary species in this region and one of the most valuable in northern Indiana,” he said. “It’s an important economical tree here in Indiana. The symptoms to look for are wilting or dying (black walnut trees).”