Major League Baseball is under attack, and in many ways the very future of the sport as we know it depends on Asian wasps.
Nearly half of all big leaguers use ash bats, but the nation's ash wood supply is under attack from the emerald ash borer. Since 2009, the beetle's larvae has eaten its way through thousands of trees in 15 states all the way up into Canada, according to the U.S. Forest Service. These areas furnish the ash used by Louisville Slugger and Rawlings to make bats.
Unable to stop the attack, the Wall Street Journal reports experts have turned to the borer's natural predators for help. Scientists have begun introducing Asian wasps into New York's ecosystem in a desperate attempt to contain the rapid beetle infestation.
Major League Baseball VP Daniel Halem says the sport is concerned about the long-term damage the beetles could do and the U.S. Forest Service has informed MLB executives about the magnitude of the situation.
New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are among the many stars who swing ash bats, which break less often than maple lumber.
Federal and state agencies have anted up $209 million in an attempt to control the beetle populations in the U.S.
Louisville Slugger is thinking of getting more ash from the New England area if the beetles aren't stopped.
Experts say its going to take at least one calendar year before they'll know if the Asian wasps' presence will actually work.
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