By Dave Keane
Fly fisherman are always trying to “match the hatch”. This month you may want to try using a beetle pattern that looks like the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The adults are a bright metallic green color approximately 1/2 inch long. Unfortunately, this beetle is a wood boring non-native invasive pest from Asia that has killed millions of ash trees in the United States. This pest accidentally arrived in Maryland in 2003 through an infected shipment of trees. Despite control efforts, the beetle has spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic and all species of ash will be affected.
During late May, the adult beetles emerge from infected trees, reproduce and the females lay their eggs on the bark of ash trees. The larvae bore into the tree and feed under the bark clogging the tree’s vascular system that ultimately kills the tree.
Why should we care about this pest? The Green Ash, Fraxinus Pennsylvanica, is common in stream valleys and is a very important woodland tree. Ash trees were also commonly planted as street trees to replace dying American Elms that were infected with Dutch Elm Disease. The seeds are eaten by wood ducks, finches and other songbirds. The ash tree is just another victim in the ongoing struggle that is a result of global trade.
How can fisherman help? You can prevent the spread of EAB and other invasive pests by not moving firewood from your property or across state lines. If you plan to go camping this spring, purchase local firewood once you reach your destination.
Here are some other tips to stop the spread of invasive pests:
- When buying plants this spring, try to find trees and shrubs that are native to your area.
- Don’t throw discarded plants into the common area, woods or open space behind your property. Even though the plant may have died, dormant seeds and disease pathogens could spread into that area.
- For more information on native plants, go to the Maryland Native Plant Society website: www.mdflora.org
- Never release pet fish or turtles into the local waters.
- Introducing non-native animals to our waters can disrupt native fish populations and it is illegal.
- Clean your waders, boots and net before traveling to another location.
- Do not relocate fish from one body of water to another; doing so can potentially spread diseases.
- Don’t dump your left over bait into waterways.
- Clean your boat, motor and trailers. Waterlogged equipment can harbor invasive aquatic species.
Other Examples of Invasive Species:
- Flathead Catfish
- Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
- Snakehead fish
- Zebra Mussels
For more information on invasive species, visit the Maryland Invasive Species Council at: www.mdinvasives.org
See you in the woods,