State Officials Confirm Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Essex County
Boston – December 9, 2013 – The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) today announced that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been detected in Essex County, Massachusetts. The destructive beetle was detected in the Town of North Andover on November 15, 2013, and was confirmed by federal officials on November 22, 2013. Essex County is the second county in the Commonwealth to have a confirmed detection of EAB. On August 31, 2012, EAB was detected in Berkshire County in the Town of Dalton. To date, 22 states across the country have confirmed detections of EAB.
DCR and DAR officials are working together, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Forest Service to take a number of swift proactive steps aimed at preventing the spread of the invasive beetle, including:
Defining a quarantine area that would only allow the movement of certain wood products under certain conditions;
Conducting a delimiting survey to help identify the extent of the infestation;
Working with stakeholders to ensure they know how to properly treat or dispose of infested trees and materials; and
Maintaining a ban that has been in place against bringing any firewood into state parks and forests.
“The presence of Emerald Ash Borer in our state represents a serious threat to our ash trees,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “We are taking swift action to address the infestation, and are working to mitigate any impact an infestation could bring.”
“It is important for the public to remain vigilant and to report any ash trees with signs of Emerald Ash Borer damage,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Early detection of new infestations will help slow the spread of this pest.”
Regulated items that would fall under quarantine include the following:
The Emerald Ash Borer, in any living stage of development;
Firewood of all hardwood species;
Nursery stock of the genus (Ash);
Green lumber of the genus (Ash);
Other material living, dead, cut, or fallen, including logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips of the genus (Ash);
Any other article, product, or means of conveyance that an inspector determines presents a risk of spreading EAB and notifies the person in possession of the article, product, or means of conveyance that it is subject to the restrictions of the regulations.
Emerald Ash Borer is a small, metallic green beetle, native to Asia, which feeds on ash trees. It was first discovered in North America in 2002, in the Detroit, Michigan area. Unlike many other invasive beetles, EAB kills ash trees quickly, within just 3-5 years, because it bores directly under the bark and disrupts the tree’s conductive system. Since its discovery in North America, it has killed millions of ash trees and has caused billions of dollars in economic loss nationwide.
Ash is a main component of the Northern Hardwood forest in Massachusetts and is a common species in western Massachusetts. Ash is also a popular street tree in eastern Massachusetts.
Residents are urged to take the time to learn the signs of EAB damage and be sure to report any sightings.
Look for tiny, D-shaped exit holes in the bark of ash trees, dieback in the upper third of the tree canopy, and sprouting of branches just below this dead area.
In the winter months, look for signs of EAB infestation left by woodpecker activity on ash trees. Fresh, light-colored wood pecks stand out against the darker bark of the tree. Severe woodpecker activity at the base of the canopy or on the main stems may indicate possible EAB infestation and should be reported to state forest health personnel immediately.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an emerald-green metallic beetle, so small that seven of them could fit on the head of a penny.
DCR and APHIS will be scheduling listening sessions in Essex County in January to provide the community with information relative to the finding and address questions. To report suspicious tree damage or insect sightings, or to learn more about this pest, visit http://www.massnrc.org/pests. You can also call the toll free EAB hotline at 1-866-322-4512.