MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Recent findings suggest that the bitter cold temperatures that gripped Wisconsin this week could also have a chilling effect on an invasive insect species that threatens the state's ash trees.
U.S. Forest Service research biologist Rob Venette co-authored a study that found temperatures around 20 degrees below zero can reduce emerald ash borer populations by half. Venette tells Wisconsin Public Radio that this week's extreme cold will likely kill up to 80 percent of the invasive Asian beetles in Wisconsin.
Emerald ash borer are responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees across the U.S.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources official Andrea Diss-Torrance says the polar vortex won't cause the insect to go extinct, but the cold could buy landowners time to treat trees that haven't been infected yet.