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Could the recent deep freeze kill off Emerald Ash Borers?

The pests can wreck havoc on Ash Trees.
Emerald Ash Borer protected from cold
Emerald Ash Borer protected from cold
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 11:11 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Don’t expect the recent cold spell to kill off much of the region’s Emerald Ash Borers, which pose an epidemic from Nebraska to Canada.

A member of the Nebraska Forest Service says the pests were well protected from Tuesday morning’s deep freeze—hiding within tree trunks.

“It’s important to remember that we weren’t cold for that long,” forest health expert Dave Olson said. “A lot of those temperatures were only achieved for a few hours early this morning.”

Olson’s been asked before—was it cold enough to kill an invasive bug species? But the question about Emerald Ash Borers, also known as EAB, was a first following sub-zero temperatures.

According to Olson, the deep freeze didn’t last long enough. The air temperatures inside tree trunks were warm enough to protect larvae inside.

“You have cases sometimes where the snow-pack helps insulate them,” Olson said. “They may be protected by the side of a house or up against something warmer.”

More than 30,000 Ash Trees line Omaha’s streets and parks, according to the Parks Department.

A recent study suggests extreme cold can kill off the invasive species, but Olson says it wasn’t conducted in the right setting.

“Some of those studies were done with more exposed logs,” Olson said.

We’ll have to wait a couple of months to see if winter had any effect on the EAB population. As for other invasive species, bagworms are likely to be affected, which could mean relief for some landscapers.

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