South Dakota Arborists Wage Winter Ash Borer Battle


Battling the emerald ash borer is a year-round endeavor in KELOLAND.  Arborists have been busy throughout the winter chopping and trimming trees to keep the troublesome population from spreading to more neighborhoods.

This is part of the deadly arsenal that will take aim at the emerald ash borer this spring and summer.

“Hate’s a strong word, but yes, it would be great if you never saw it again,” Timm Johannesen of Warne Chemical & Equipment said.

Arborists will poke tree trunks with the pesticide to kill the ash borer.  It’s a lot like getting a vaccination at the doctor’s office.

“And then when anything tries to attack it, it will pick it up and die,” Johannesen said.

Dozens of arborists from across South Dakota met in downtown Sioux Falls to plan their attack.

They’ve been cutting trees during the wintertime when the ash borers are too young to fly.

“It’s been a nice, open winter for work and everything, so we’ve been doing removals, pruning, everything we can do to keep busy and ahead of the emerald ash borer in our area,” Todd Helling of Gary’s Tree Service said.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t going to be much help in knocking-off the emerald ash borer during this mild winter.  You need daily high temperatures well below-zero for weeks on end in order to kill the hardy little larvae tucked into the bark.

“In a winter like this, where’s it’s maybe a little more mild, is not going to have the effects that you probably want on the insect,” Aberdeen City Forester Aaron Kiesz said.

Not even plummeting temperatures forecast for the weekend will do much to deal the ash borer a fatal blow.

If you’d like to learn more about the ongoing efforts to control the emerald ash borer and how to protect your trees,  you can go to our Emerald Ash Borer page.

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