Friday, April 25th, 2014

Working to SLAM EAB

"Everyone agrees that we need to do something besides stand back and watch the ash trees die."

So goes the reasoning behind the project to SLAM – SL.ow A.sh M.ortality – in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, said Deborah McCullough, professor of forest entomology at Michigan State University (MSU). Emerald ash borer (EAB), an exotic pest from Asia, was discovered in southeast Michigan in 2002. Since then, this invader has killed an estimated 40 million ash trees in lower Michigan. Populations of EAB have now been found in at least 14 other states and two Canadian provinces, costing public and private landowners millions of dollars. The SLAM project is a collaborative effort involving MSU, the USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Michigan Technological University (MTU), the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture (MDA), the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources (MDNR), and Michigan Conservation Districts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The goal of the SL.A.M. pilot project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is to delay and slow the expansion of ash mortality by reducing populations of the beetle in newly-infested sites, outside of known EAB infestations.

"It's not common to have people from this many agencies collaborate on a project," said John Bedford, MDA pest response program manager. "We all share a goal of developing an integrated management plan for EAB outlier sites that can eventually be used in other states."

Several management tactics can be used to slow EAB spread and ash mortality in a newly-infested site. Data from the project will be evaluated yearly and adjustments will be made as needed.

For more information about the emerald ash borer, please visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/.