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Beetle threatens Colorado's urban forest

Now is the time of year that many residents choose to spruce up their yards. But they should also be researching an insect that threatens the beauty of those yards.

"It is set up to be what they're calling the single most destructive pest of urban forests in Denver history," said Denver City Forester Rob Davis.

The emerald ash borer has made its way to Colorado. The beetle feeds on ash trees and has killed millions across the country so far. Experts think it originated in Asia and came to the United States in early 2000 when it was discovered in Detroit.

The emerald ash borer is one of few federally-regulated pests. Last fall, federal authorities confirmed the beetle's presence in Boulder County. State officials quarantined a five-mile area around where the beetle was discovered.

The beetle has not been found in Denver. And city officials say they are taking preventative measures already.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, 15 percent of Denver's 2.2 million trees are ash trees. Many of them are on private property. Experts say it's up to individual owners to decide whether to remove trees. The Colorado Department of Agriculture created a website to help residents determine their proximity to the beetle in order to make a decision about their own trees.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014