Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is considered to be the most destructive and costliest forest pest in North America, with populations continuing to invade rural and urban areas throughout the continent. Millions of ash trees across 36 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces have been completely decimated since the wood-boring beetle was discovered in Michigan in 2002. In July 2022, EAB was discovered for the first time on the West coast in a park in Forest Grove, OR, about 25 miles west of Portland.
I will present on a spatial modeling tool written in R that can help with efforts to detect EAB early, before it has time to establish and spread. The tool combines gridded climate data with species-specific physiological information to produce forecasts of climatic suitability and the timing of life cycle events across North America. For example, model forecasts of adult emergence can help ensure that traps are installed well before adult beetles begin exiting trees in the spring and summer. Forecasts of climatic suitability can provide insights into the potential range limits for EAB, such as in very cold parts of Canada. Model forecasts and the R tool are freely available at https://uspest.org/CAPS. Our new grant will fund work to make forecasts more interactive, increase the number of end-users, and engage citizen scientists in contributing observations for forecast validation.