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Byline: Marty Hair
The first time she saw the dying ash trees in Wayne County, Mich., Deb McCullough sensed that something was very wrong. That night at dinner, the Michigan State University forest entomologist told her husband, "This is going to be a bad thing. You watch."
Unfortunately for North America's ash trees, her premonition has proven accurate. An insect called the emerald ash borer had hitchhiked into the Detroit area, possibly with cargo shipped from Asia. It already has killed millions of ash trees in southeast Michigan and threatens billions more.
The good news, posted on www.emeraldashborer.info, is that 2003 tests using chemical insecticides show some effectiveness when applied at the right time and under the right conditions. This is encouraging news for homeowners, especially those outside the worst infested areas, who are willing to pay for annual treatments to protect a valued shade ash. Treatments may cost $50 to $200 depending on the method, product and tree size.
For academics, the chance to probe the …