Purple versus Emerald Green: Repeat after me "Grasshopper, grasshopper go to hell!"

May 26th, 2014, 10am

The Emerald Ask Borer: We speak of it so often we need an abbreviation so it will trip more quickly from our tongues - EAB!

The Emerald Ash Borer, native to Northern China, has begun to invade Minnesota and our surrounding neighbors. Already four Minnesota counties to the south have ash tree products quarantined. Minnesota has the greatest number of ash trees in the nation (998 million). Over the decades we experienced Birch die off (drought), Elm death (Dutch Elm Disease). Should the Ash die we might as well become a prairie state and call ourselves North Iowa.

Last year our neighbor city, Superior, across the bay, discovered this nonnative insect in their forest. So we have EAB detection traps, looking like exotic purple Chinese lanterns hung in the Ash trees on Minnesota Point facing Superior. Indeed, a purple trap to catch the emerald green insect.

Years ago our governor, Wendy Anderson, declared Minnesota the unofficial home of St. Urho, a mythical saint invoked by Minnesota Finns disgruntled with the attention given St. Patrick. On March 18th each year Minnesota celebrated this saint who legend says drove the snakes out of Ireland. A day before, March 17, we celebrate St Urho who legend says drove the grasshoppers out of Finland. The good saint incanted: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” (roughly translated: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”).

Maybe St. Urho can help rid us of the Emerald Ash Borer.

Another author suggested we control the march of the many invasive insects by modeling ourselves after the cultures who increase their nutrition by eating insects. This I call the Golden Arches solution.

Taking no chances, however, scientists, have another solution: the Chinese wasp (not to be confused with the American White Anglo Saxon Protestant). The Entomological Society proclaims “Chinese Wasps are Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer.”

Two insects native to northern China potentially battling in the Northern Minnesota forests . Does it surprise you we have purple Chinese lanterns in our Ashes?

Shu said thanks.

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Ken Jackson

An avid outdoors man. Retired and retiring, living on the shore of Lake Superior

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