Bad News Beetles
Nothing may seem amiss, but the entire western half of Maryland is now a quarantine area. In 14 counties west of the Chesapeake and Susquehanna, Maryland Department of Agriculture has found evidence of the emerald ash borer. The destructive Asiatic beetle, which has conquered the west in nine years, kills ash trees from the inside out.
The threat the half-inch-long bugs pose is grave. Ash are shade trees for much of urban Maryland. Ones that have fallen prey to the borers bear telltale D-shaped holes where adults have eaten their way through. Within a year, gnawing adults and larvae hollow a tree, which then dies of starvation.
The full quarantine area stretches beyond Maryland to Illinois and up into parts of New York. Help maintain the quarantine — and hopefully keep the Eastern Shore uncontaminated. Transporting live ash trees and all firewood and roughly chipped wood to the shore is forbidden. Follow the bug at www.aphis.usda.gov.