Beetles massacred trees

By JT Cummings, Staff Writer

Students may have noticed a significant amount of missing trees from the corridor between Williams and Parrott Hall and may be wondering where they went. These trees were removed by Physical Plant earlier this summer due to a bug infestation causing damage to the trees.

Native to eastern Asia, the emerald ash borer is the green beetle causing the problems in Olivet’s landscape. This invasive species is the direct cause for the removal of approximately 40 trees from campus over the summer.

According to the US Forest Service, “this insect was introduced into North America sometime in the 1990s. Since then, infestations have been found throughout lower Michigan, Ohio, northern Indiana, the Chicago area, Maryland and recently in Pennsylvania.”

“Every tree we took out was dead,” said Physical Plant director Matt Whitis. “Any tree that still had some life was lost because we were taking so many out.”

Volume 10 of The Journal of Insect Science states the emerald ash borer is harmful to trees in its larval state as it eats away at the tree’s outer layer of wood in a pattern that disrupts the distribution of nutrients.

According to Whitis, Physical Plant plans to replace the missing trees soon. “We are looking for bigger trees to put in,” he said. “We will have a bunch of new trees before homecoming this fall.”

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