A War We Can Win?

The US is under attack from a foreign invader: the Asian Longhorned Beetle.

WORCESTER, Mass. – A wood-devouring beetle has gained a foothold in New England, and authorities plan to cut down large numbers of infested trees and grind them up to stop the pest from spreading to the region's celebrated forests and ravaging the timber, tourism and maple-syrup industries.

I grew up amid the devastating epidemic of Dutch Elm Disease. It wiped out much of the elm-lined street of my home town. This new invader is even scarier, as it attacks many of the varieties of trees that make up the forests of the northeast:

The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) (ALB), called Starry Sky, or Sky Oxen beetle in China is native to China and other areas of eastern Asia where it causes widespread mortality of poplar, willow, elm, and maple trees.

The Federal Government has so far been doing a good job keeping the beetle at bay. Mostly this involves cutting down infected trees and burning the remains. Targeted insecticide also seems effective. I am glad they are taking this threat seriously. I'm not an enviro-nut, but I think this effort deserves our full support.

Ann says: I am still amazed that one street in our home town managed to keep all their elms, while every other street was devastated. If you're ever in Shorewood, Wisconsin, drive down Shorewood drive near the lake to see how the town used to look.

Since then, resistant strains of elm have been developed. It has reached the point where you were safer planting elms than maples--which these days have more diseases.

But this new bug sounds bad, if it can cross species lines to attack everything.

It seems to be "Bug Day" at Saltzafrazz!