BRIMLEY, Mich. - The emerald ash borer has been detected in the Upper Peninsula for the first time, state officials said yesterday.
The voracious invader was found during a survey of ash trees in Brimley State Park, in Chippewa County along the Lake Superior shoreline.
Michigan Agriculture Director Mitch Irwin said it "appears to be an isolated infestation, and we are responding quickly and aggressively to eradicate it."
The emerald ash borer is an aggressive beetle native to Asia. It is blamed for killing or damaging about 15 million ash trees in the Lower Peninsula.
Officials had banned transport of nonconiferous firewood and products made of ash wood into the Upper Peninsula in hopes of keeping the ash borer out. A checkpoint was established last May just north of the Mackinac Bridge.
Survey crews with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Tech University, and the U.S. Forest Service checked high-risk areas of the Upper Peninsula this summer for signs of the ash borer.
Two ash borer larvae were found early this month in "detection trees" in Brimley State Park. Detection trees have a ring of bark removed from the trunk to cause stress and attract ash borers that may be in the area.
Research shows the pest is more likely to lay eggs on stressed trees.
Officials will remove all ash trees within a half-mile of the infestation, DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said.