DAYTON, OH – Researchers at Wright State University believe that they have found emerald ash borers (EAB) feasting on white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), a smaller ornamental tree native to the eastern U.S., but found as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. Up to this point, emerald ash borer had been found exclusively in ash species.
The EAB has destroyed millions of ash trees in the Midwest and Northeastern states. Given its voracious appetite, the thought that it could move to other species has foresters and arborists concerned.
Professor Don Cipollini at Wright State has found EAB galleries and insect specimens in white fringe trees near his home.
“It appears that emerald ash borer is eating more than ash trees,” Cipollini said. “It may have a wider host range than we ever thought in the first place, or it is adapting to utilize new hosts. This biological invasion is really something to worry about. It’s having drastic ecological and economic consequences, and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen.”