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Winter Weather Could Slow Spread Of Invasive Ash Borer

It’s the coldest it’s been in recent years and it seems the frigid temperatures are hard on things other than just people.

An adult emerald ash borer feeds off a leaf.

Photo: (Purdue University Department of Entomology photo/John Obermeyer)

An adult emerald ash borer feeds off a leaf.

If you can believe it, the sub-zero temperatures could yield positive results.

The deep freeze could help slow down the emerald ash borer insect as it tries to invade the state’s ash trees. The invasive emerald ash borer is present across the state.  It eventually kills ash trees. 

Department of Natural Resources, state entomologist Philip Marshall says the pests stand a lesser chance of survival in prolonged spells of sub-zero temperatures.

“It won’t be the end of the emerald ash borer. It’ll be the end of a FEW emerald ash borer,” he says.

Temperatures would need to be somewhere around 25 to 30 degrees below zero over three or more days to really have a big impact on the borer.

But National Weather Service hydrologist Al Shipe says those kind of temperatures would shatter records.

“We’ve never had that kind of weather,” he says. “The longest cold spell that we’ve had here is December of ’89 when the temperature was 66 hours of zero or below.”

Shipe says the lowest reported temperatures experienced in Indiana this month were in Zionsville where it hit negative 20, but that only lasted for a few hours.

An interactive map from the Department of Natural Resources displays Emerald Ash Borer infestations reported within the state.

Alex Dierckman

Alex Dierckman is a reporter and anchor for WFIU/WTIU News and Indiana Newsdesk. She has been with the station since 2012. From Carmel, Indiana, Alex is excited to report and deliver the news in her home state. You can follow her on Twitter @alexdierckman.

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