Tree-killing pest could have $82M impact

Posted at 11:45 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 13:45:10-05

The Colorado Forest Service says an invasive beetle that kills ash trees could become "the most devastating insect" ever seen in the state's urban forests.

The Denver Post reports that the agency has released a report saying the emerald ash borer, which has damaged trees in Boulder since 2013, is expected to spread to Denver. The agency predicts that damage to trees in the state's capital could cost as much as $82 million.

The insect has already caused tens of millions of dollars in damage in Boulder. Property values have fallen, there has been less carbon dioxide storage and rainfall interception has been reduced.

Ash trees make up about 15 percent of Colorado's urban and community forests, allowing the insect to have a major impact statewide.