Emerald ash borer changing landscape in North Bay's Lee Park

A little beetle is making a big change to the landscape in North Bay.

City removing damaged trees from playground

The emerald ash borer is nearly 100 per cent lethal to its host. (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

A little beetle is making a big change to the landscape in North Bay.

Parks Supervisor Mark Thomas says eight mature ash trees are being removed from Lee Park Wednesday and Thursday, after being attacked by the emerald ash borer.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the bright, metallic green insect is nearly 100 per cent lethal to its host, and the pest is on a steady invasive march across North America. 

The beetle, native to eastern Asia, likely came to Canada aboard a ship, stowing away inside untreated wood packing materials.

While it is relatively harmless in its native habitat, the beetle has wrought devastation elsewhere. 

Thomas said a new playground is being built in the park and the trees have to be taken out to prevent dead limbs from falling on people.

"The ash trees are right in between a heavily used pathway, the Kinsman Trail, and this new playground that's going in," Thomas said. " So the potential for injury of these dead or dying ash in such a busy area, we thought it was best to just take them down."

Thomas said work is underway to inventory infected trees throughout the city. Any infested tree will be removed and replaced on a one-to-one basis with a variety of species.

"Certainly a lot of the trees that are in Lee Park, it's sad to see those go," Thomas said. "They were mature, healthy ash trees so it's certainly hard to see those ones go."

The Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste Marie said the beetle has been detected throughout the southern part of the northeast including Greater Sudbury.

With files from Kate Rutherford


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