By JENNIFER KALISH
Capital News Service
LANSING – The threat from a metallic green beetle is still spreading quickly throughout the ash of the Great Lakes region, despite a recent national report that said fewer trees died in 2011 from harmful insects in the United States than previous years. The region’s drought can also seal the fate of sick and dying trees, the U.S. Forest Service reported. Many ash already are dropping leaves or changing color earlier this year than usual – both mechanisms that trees use to cope with drought, said Deborah McCullough, a forest entomologist at Michigan State University. “It’s possible some insect populations could increase next summer as a result of this year’s drought, but that is just really hard to predict,” she said. It doesn’t seem like emerald ash borers will be leaving the region any time soon, experts say.