Emerald Ash Borer

Forestry Commissioner Skip Kincaid points out the insecticide injections given to a tree in north St. Louis.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

On a residential street in the Central West End neighborhood, a worker wearing a hard hat and a safety vest used a chainsaw to cut the branches off of an ash tree. The tree and the ones next to it were marked for removal because the emerald ash borer, an invasive species, has come to St. Louis.

The Asian beetle has decimated ash trees across the country since the early 2000s, particularly in the Midwest and the Northeast. In recent years, the emerald ash borer has spread to 28 counties in Missouri, most recently to Franklin County.

The emerald ash borer was first found in the St. Louis area last summer.
Missouri Department of Conservation.

This month, St. Louis foresters will start chopping down about 13,000 ash trees on public property to stay ahead of the invasive emerald ash borer, a destructive pest that drains the life out of ash trees.

Nearly one out of five trees on city streets are ash trees. City Forestry Commissioner Skip Kincaid doesn’t deny that some residents may find the change startling, but the damage the emerald ash borer has caused to other cities across the country is no small matter.

“It’s going to be devastating,” he said. “You know, we’re going to see a lot of street trees that die.”

Forestry Commissioner Skip Kincaid points out the insecticide injections given to a tree in north St. Louis.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents of St. Louis may have come across an odd sight in their front yards this summer: workers drilling holes into trees and plugging up the holes with mysterious white tubes. 

The workers are urban foresters from the city of St. Louis' forestry division. While the activity might seem suspicious, they're trying to help ash trees that are vulnerable to the invasive emerald ash borer. 

The emerald ash borer was first found in the St. Louis area last summer.
Missouri Department of Conservation.

An insect pest that has decimated ash trees in 25 U.S. states has now spread to St. Louis County. If left alone, the emerald ash borer will eventually kill any tree it attacks.

The destructive green beetle was first detected in our area last year, in St. Charles County, and was found in north St. Louis City this past spring. In mid-August, it was confirmed in Creve Coeur.

Courtesy CityArchRiver

Most of the renovations at the Gateway Arch are scheduled to be finished in October, in time for the monument’s 50th anniversary.

Work on the park over the highway, Luther Ely Smith Square and the riverfront will be done by October, said Ryan McClure, CityArchRiver’s communications director. CityArchRiver is a $380 million effort to connect the Gateway Arch and the city.

(David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

Beware the Emerald Ash Borer. 

Ash trees in the St. Louis area are susceptible to attacks from the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species of beetle that has been creeping toward the area since 2008.

The green beetle, with a penchant for any kind of ash tree, has infested and killed millions of trees nationwide. The beetle is native of Asia and was first found in Michigan in the early 2000s, although recent research suggests the bug could have been here since the early 1990s.

(via Flickr/US Department of Agriculture)

Jacob McCleland contributed reporting for this story.

With the unofficial start of the summer season behind us, the Missouri Department of Conservation is urging campers not to transport firewood - in an effort to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer.

"Don't move firewood," said MDC forest entomologist Rob Lawrence. "It's not only the emerald ash borer that we're concerned about, and it's not just ash wood. There are a lot of pests that are not native to North America that have gotten carried in here, and they hitchhike on firewood."

(David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

Nearly half of the trees on the grounds of the Gateway Arch will be removed and replaced with a different species.

The National Park Service said Thursday that more than 900 Rosehill ash trees will be taken out over concerns about the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in 15 states. Officials at the Arch say the ash trees on the grounds are also showing signs of decline from urban factors like air pollution and less than ideal soil.

(David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

The National Park Service is bracing for the possible loss of more than 900 trees near the Gateway Arch. That’s what could happen if the emerald ash borer makes it to the St. Louis area.

The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees since it was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in the early 1990s.