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Emerald Ash Borer invades metro neighborhoods, causes millions in damages

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A beetle infestation in the metro area is causing millions of dollars in damages and thousands of Ash Trees are being cut down because of the Emerald Ash Borer.

Experts are now saying the problem has spread a lot faster than anticipated to every major county and city  in the metro. Now, there are many Ash Trees in the neighborhood near McCory Street in Shawnee that are either dead or dying.

"That's been what's been so drastic to me, when you're driving down this neighborhood last year a lot of these Ash Trees look great," Rodney St. John with Ryan Lawn and Tree. "Now this year there so many of them now dead or severely damaged."

The beetle burrows into the Ash Tree, lays its eggs inside and lives off the tree's tissue. These actions cut off water to the tree's branches and leaves.

With nearly 4 million Ash Trees in the metro area, the infestation is costing the community millions of dollars in damages.

In February, Lawrence, Kan., received nearly $240,000 to fight the beetles during the next decade.

Ash Borers typically lay their eggs during the summer months, which is making this time of year a busy one for tree companies.

"The key is, you can't do nothing," St. John said. "You have to do something. You're either going to have to protect your Ash Tree, prevent it from the infestation or work on a plan for removing the tree because Ash Trees are very brittle. And once one becomes completely dead, it is a liability."