Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is encouraging residents to check their
trees for a rare insect invading the Cincinnati area.
They're called Walnut
Twig Beetles, known to carry a fungus that can infect and ultimately
kill walnut trees located all over the Tri-State.
ODA officials have found thousands of beetles in traps spread out
across Butler, Warren, and Hamilton counties.
These bugs are no bigger than an inch and a half but they have the
potential to cause major problems to the environment. The beetles first
appeared in Ohio late last year in Butler County.
Officials say once the insects dig into the branches and trunk
tissue of the walnut trees, it's only a matter of time before the trees die
from the fungus causing Thousand Cankers Disease.
"It'd be very costly to the property owner. I don't think I'd
want to be stuck with that," said Hamilton County resident Sonya
Just a year ago, Clermont
County saw a similar situation involving
Asian Longhorned Beetles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture ultimately decided
to cut down thousands of infested trees. Robert Wenzel with Sharon Woods says
they've also had this problem before.
"It was up on the hill up here. It was either a bug or a
beetle that did it. They cut an acre of them down," said Wenzel.
Wenzel says the impact wasn't as big as the situation in Clermont
County, but it definitely hurts.
"They started to die and the rest of them, they just cut down
to keep it from spreading. It was pretty bad," Wenzel added.
ODA officials are in the process of expanding their regional
quarantine in an effort to isolate the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
Wenzel says he hopes these bugs aren't here to stay because nature is too valuable
"It kind of worries me because that means if they come attack
the trees and stuff, that'll be less shade for everybody for one thing. The
animals will have a hard time finding shade," said Wenzel.
These beetles carrying the Thousand Cankers Disease do not pose a
deadly threat to humans.
Symptoms of a tree infected with the disease include thinning
crowns or yellowing and wilted leaves. To report signs and symptoms on your
trees, you're encouraged to contact the ODA at (614) 265-6860.