The City of Kawartha Lakes is fighting a losing battle with a small bug.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) has now infested almost all of the 24,000 ash trees on public property, according to city officials.
But experts say there are a few ways to slow or even stop the spread of the munching menace.
Just outside the door to the main entrance of Fleming College in Lindsay stands Katrina Van Osch-Saxon, professor in the urban forestry technician program.
Using a 14-inch-long draw knife, she starts slicing the bark from an infected ash tree and cuts through larvae.
“This is the larval stage of the insect that actually feeds beneath the bark and these are the larval galleries where the little grub-like beetle larvae have fed underneath the bark which is how the tree is killed. There are thousands of these that feed beneath the bark,” she said.
Around two years ago, the ash trees on campus started to decline. There were signs and symptoms that the trees were starting to be infected, noted Osch-Saxon.
So some as trees in fairly good shape were injected with an insecticide but the majority on campus couldn’t be saved, just like the rest of the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Two years ago, the city was looking at implementing a five-step plan to deal with the EAB but the price tag to remove all of the affected trees was too high, more than $3 million.
So city staff have been taking other measures such as taking inventory of ash trees and planting replacement trees other than the ash species.
Something else that can prevent the spread of the ash borer, say experts, is to avoid transporting firewood which is a natural habitat for the beetle.
WATCH: Trees infected by emerald ash borer given new life