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Forest Service Finds Local Government and Home Owners Pay the Price for Non-Native Insects

The emerald ash borer is an example of a non-native, wood-boring insect.

The emerald ash borer is an example of a non-native, wood-boring insect.

While invasive insect species are widely recognized as being among the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem stability worldwide, there has been little research into their economic impact on the national level especially for non-native invasive species.

Many examples come to mind like the devastation caused by the native bark beetle in Colorado and surrounding states. However, what most don’t realize is that the threat from non-native insect species is equally if not more costly to U.S. tax payers.

In fact, according to a new study by a U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station science team, non-native, wood-boring insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle are costing an estimated $1.7 billion in local government expenditures. Add to those millions of dollars approximately $830 million in lost residential property values every year and one gets the idea that these invaders are costing us a lot.

Reliable estimates of the impacts and costs of insect invasions are critical to developing credible management, trade and regulatory policies. Worldwide, forests and urban trees provide important ecosystem services as well as economic and social benefits

The research findings are reported in the on-line journal PloS One this month. The new study provides the most comprehensive estimates of the costs of non-native forest insects that are currently available for the United States.

3 Responses to “Forest Service Finds Local Government and Home Owners Pay the Price for Non-Native Insects”

  1. Jane Hodgins says:

    One of the great things about Forest Service research is that it is so connected to work being done by national and international universities. This study is a good example of that. In addition to Northern Research Station scientists, the team included scientists from U.S. and Canadian academic institutions as well as other Forest Service scientists. It was funded by The Nature Conservancy and supported by the University of California/Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS.

  2. Mike Hulick says:

    I own 7 acres in central upstate NY. I have mostly ash on this property. Will they all be lost to the borer or is there something I can do to save them. I have maintained them for almost 20 yrs. They are just now becoming the shade tree of choice for us. There must be a predator or something we can do. Please advise. Thank you very much. Mike.

  3. Steve says:

    Near Kansas City, it took two seasons to kill the Emerald Ash Borers in my 4 inch caliper tree, about 20 feet tall. I sprayed on the trunk and crotches as high up as my pump up sprayer would go, about 15 feet up. I never did see any insects but I saw the tell-tale half-moon holes, about 1/8 inch in diameter on the trunk and around the crotches. Now the Ash tree is growing much faster. I sprayed with a Home Orchard mix with Malathion. I often look at other ash trees in Kansas City and Overland Park. I can often find the half moon holes in trunks.

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