Tiny bug takes down thousands of trees - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Tiny bug takes down thousands of trees

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A state park is home to thousands of ash trees that are under attack by a tiny and hungry little bug. A state park is home to thousands of ash trees that are under attack by a tiny and hungry little bug.
Eric Gracey Eric Gracey
Franklin Kilibarda Franklin Kilibarda
Gil Lawson Gil Lawson

CARROLL COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - A state park is home to thousands of ash trees that are under attack by a tiny and hungry little bug.

About 2,000 ash trees at General Butler State Park will be cut down because of the bug called an ash borer, which is smaller than a penny.

The ash borer is native to Asia, but the invasive insect is spreading like wildfire throughout the country.

"This is something that is going to change the way our woods look from, for the foreseeable future and possibly forever," said Eric Gracey, with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

The reason? The bugs lay their hungry larvae in ash trees, sucking up the nutrients and killing the tree.

The larger infected trees die within three to four years and could have posed a danger to those who love to visit the park.

Contractor Atwood Lumber & Mats paid the park $50,000 to cut the trees down because of the bugs.

The labor is in the hands of five workers, including two Amish brothers.

"I would say they are logging experts," Kilibarda said.

The trees being cut down are measured in board feet weighing an average of 12 to 13 pounds a foot, but some trees being cut down come in at more than two tons. So where is that wood going?

"The primary clear wood goes to the furniture industry," the company's owner, Franklin Kilibarda explained. "The secondary wood, which is a second grade wood, goes into the crane mat industry."

The money raised from the cut down trees will be used to buy maples trees and oak trees to fill the void.

"We are hoping that in a few years it won't be as noticeable," said Gil Lawson, Director of Communications at the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

This part of the project is expected to be done by March. Crews could return next winter if needed.

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