The City of North Bay says it will begin removing ash trees infested with an invasive species, the emerald ash borer, from parks and municipally-owned properties.

It is a highly destructive beetle that attacks and kills all species of ash trees, with the exception of the mountain ash.

Work is now underway to identify and compile an inventory of affected trees throughout the city.

A number of damaged trees have been identified in Lee Park and will be removed on Wednesday, August 7 in order to prevent unsafe conditions as part of the installation of the new playground equipment, the city stated in a media release issued Tuesday.

“Typically, the borer has been present for at least two years before signs of infection are visible. A number of infected ash trees have been identified in Lee Park,” said Gord Young, communications officer for the City of North Bay.

First detected in Ontario in 2002, the emerald ash borer is an invasive insect from Asia that feeds on ash trees.

Four species of wasps have been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to reduce the impact of the pest, but there is no known method to eradicate the wood-boring insect.

The city says trees that are removed will be replaced on a one-to-one basis with a variety of species in order to minimize any future invasive species-related risks.

City officials say that property owners should contact a qualified arborist familiar with this type of infestation to address affected trees on private property.

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