Jun 26, 2009

Louisville Slugger In Danger?

On June 15th, the emerald ash borer was confirmed present in New York State (Cattaraugus County), in a region famous for its baseball bat-producing ash trees.

The beetle, native to East Asia, arrived in Detroit some 10 years ago, probably by hitchhiking in wooden crates or pallets. Since then, it has killed more than 25 million trees across the upper Midwest and in Ontario.

New York has more than 600 million ash trees — all of which are now at risk.

The fate of the Louisville Slugger may depend on New York’s outdoor enthusiasts. Because the beetle can only move short distances on its own, long distance dispersal is usually due to humans moving infected live trees, logs, pallets or firewood. We could limit the spread of this invasive pest just by remembering to not move firewood — and to buy it where we burn it.

If we don’t, America’s national pastime — and natural landscape — could be vastly different in just a few short years.

Emily Manley is a marketing specialist for The Nature Conservancy in New York. The original posting at Nature.Org can be found here.


  1. No, not the Louisville Slugger?! That would be terrible. The emerald ash borer is definitely in our area, and I'm concerned for our numerous ash trees. The advice in the article is exactly right--people should not transport their own firewood, which can easily spread the insect to new areas.

  2. Hi Ken,
    Oh no ... not the baseball bats. Anything but the baseball bats. Why can't these beetles just hitch a ride to McClean, Virginia and go after that blockhead Dick Cheney.

  3. I thought they were thinking of going to metal bats anyway. D

  4. Every spring, I fight a battle to protect my roses from the Japanese beetle, another non-native import with no natural predators in my area. They can strip the foliage off a rosebush in a day. The most readily effective solution is to use an insecticide, but poisons don't know the difference between the Japanese beetle or a ladybug or a honeybee. I'm continually concocting kitchen remedies that don't involve the use of insecticides. We really have to learn to think environmentally in all of our actions, including carelessly bringing in non native species of animal and insect life.


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)