In North America, some 7 billion ash trees are potentially under threat from EAB, which puts the UK situation into perspective. EAB attacks result in up to 100% mortality. We need to enforce strict biosecurity measures to prevent the beetle becoming established in the UK in the future.
Experts believe it has been able to travel by hitching a ride on shipping crates, which have not been properly treated with pesticides. In America, the first beetles arrived on timber pallets which were used to ship products from China to Detroit.
“It’s an unintended consequence of globalisation,” added Dr Buggs.”
“Every pallet if you’re moving stuff internationally should be treated so it’s not carrying beetles or pathogens, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. In some countries there is faking of the symbol that is supposed to be on a pallet to show it has been treated, so wood packaging is one of the means by which pests and pathogens are spreading around the world.”
Text provided by Ben Jump, retired forester/arboriculturalist based in Scotland.