The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, November 12, 2004

Under the Radar...

...and in more ways than one. This is the first I've heard of the emerald ash borer. Six million trees? Maybe we'll find that their natural predator is the snakehead. Just kidding. We won't.

(USA Today)"The shiny green beetle, called the emerald ash borer, came to the USA up to 10 years ago, probably inside a wood packing crate from China.

Since it arrived near Detroit, the beetle has destroyed more than 6 million ash trees in 3,000 square miles of southeast Michigan, an area larger than Delaware. The U.S. Agriculture Department quarantined the area in October 2003, making it illegal to remove ash trees and firewood.

But the emerald ash borer flies up to a half-mile in the summer. It has been found in Ohio, Indiana and Ontario, plus in commercial nurseries in Maryland and Virginia.

Federal and state agriculture officials have launched a major effort to hunt down the beetle and destroy every ash tree within a half-mile of infested trees.

"If we don't stop this in northwest Ohio, it's a death sentence for the nation's ash trees," says Fred Daily, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. "

I remember a spate of bug-menace horror movies in the 70's. Tarantula. Ants. Earwig (I made that one up). Frogs (I didn't make that one up). Empire of the Ants. Kingdom of the Spiders. Food of the Gods (which doesn't really count). And don't forget: Them! More than one was about the nasties coming in packing crates from overseas.

Obviously 'homeland security' could use a tad more work. And it probably wouldn't even cost $250,000,000,000.