Environment
4:01 am
Mon July 14, 2014

RI Tagging Trees Across The State Threatened By Invasive Insects

Hundreds of bright orange and yellow tags will be going up on trees across the state starting Monday to heighten awareness of invasive insects that devastate forests.

A male asian longhorned beetle.
Credit UVM/USDA

The biggest concerns are the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer. That’s because those species have been found in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Asian Longhorn Beetles bore into maple, ash, birch and elm trees, drilling down into the tree’s core eventually killing it. The Department of Environmental Management’s Elizabeth Lopes-Duguay said next month is when adult beetles start emerging. “They will emerge from the tree,” said Lopes-Duguay. “They will almost chew out a hole about the size of a dime, nice and round, because they tunnel into the wood.”

The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in western Massachusetts two years ago. Lopes-Duguay said the Emerald Ash Bore is mostly a threat to urban areas, “where ash trees many years ago was one of the primary street tree that was planted,” she said. “So there are communities where certain streets all that’s planted are ash trees.”

Lopes-Duguay said so far neither the Emerald Ash Bore nor the Asian Longhorn Beetle has been found in the state due in part to Rhode Island’s aggressive outreach educating residents and monitoring forests for the insects.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org