Thursday, March 22, 2012
A Beetle from Oz
Yesterday, while walking up a park road through the woods at Nashville's Edwin Warner Park, I saw something new to me. A beetle under an inch long flying just above the pavement. It would fly, then land, then fly again, keeping just ahead of us in a companionable way, as though leading us into the forest. It was the color of an emerald, or of a Faberge egg.
Since I have misplaced my field guide to the insects ,I typed in "emerald colored beetle" on Google. And I then read about the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle from Asia that is killing American ash trees.
When I was young I looked out my schoolroom window in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and saw the great elms that lined the town's main road. Are they there now? Or did Dutch Elm Disease, a fungus from the Old World spread by a bark beetle kill them? And I also remember seeing hillsides of trees decimated by Gypsy Moths when I was even younger and living in Connecticut.
I have never seen an American Chestnut, for they were all killed by a blight, and were gone before I was born.
And when I started to garden in Nashville in the early 90s there were no Japanese beetles here.
Now there are.
I have just read that state forestry services are quarantining areas where the beetle is found, trying to keep infected ash wood from being moved state to state. It may not work.
Another example of unintended consequences from Globalization.
Yet- I wanted to be certain what I saw was the Ash borer. And I am happy to say that it was not. The Ash borer was just not green enough-
Happily my green beetle was the Tiger Beetle,and harmless to the Ash tree.
This bright beetle was from Oz not from Hades!