September 15, 2008
At press time, areas of emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation in Ontario include Oakville, Brampton and Ottawa, as well as southwestern Ontario. Fifteen concerned growers attended a briefing at Landscape Ontario’s home office on July 31, in regards to the new discoveries of EAB. Brian Hamilton, EAB program specialist with the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA), presented an overview of the alien pest’s morphology and life cycle, warning that it is difficult to spot because it is such a tiny pest.

To date, there are no effective traps or lures for EAB. Surveys are still based, for the most part, on visual diagnosis. This means signs and symptoms may not be evident until the pest has established itself after four to five years. Because EAB is not native to North America, there are few natural controls.

Despite the gradual movement of EAB across the province, it is felt control measures are still worth putting into place to ensure other areas remain EAB-free. Once EAB has been sighted, the property on which it is found becomes a regulated area. This means no firewood, ash trees, wood or ash bark products may be removed from the property. CFIA conducts surveys in surrounding areas to determine the level of local infestation, but historically, once the survey has been completed, the entire county is considered a regulated area.

Growers or landscapers may ship ash trees through a regulated area in a closed truck. Large caliper nursery stock needs to be tightly tarped down. Growers in a regulated area cannot ship ash trees out of their area.

Because the pest is so difficult to detect, it can be missed in surveys, so cutting down ash trees is no longer considered as an effective method to slow the spead of EAB. Because CFIA is no longer issuing notices of disposal, compensation is not available to growers or homeowners. Landscape Ontario plans to survey growers to collect statistics on ash tree inventories to give CFIA a history of the tree species in Ontario and an idea of the impact of this pest.

The movement of EAB-infested firewood is thought to be the main vector of this pest. CFIA staff routinely checks campers bringing firewood into parks and will fine those ignoring the prohibition on the movement of firewood.