EMERALD ASH BORER Information in this article was derived from NYS DEC press releases and the DEC website.
If you have ash trees: DEC notes that you should stop and learn more before you act. The potential threat of emerald ash borer (EAB) is real; however, acting without understanding the specific threat to your trees, regulations and quarantines, and your options, could cause the unnecessary loss of treasured shade trees, or loss of substantial income from your woodlot.
The EAB is a small destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash. The EAB has metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen; it is small enough to fit easily on a penny. Damage is caused by the larvae, which feed in tunnels called galleries in the phloem just below the bark. The serpentine galleries disrupt water and nutrient transport, causing branches, and eventually the entire tree, to die. Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.
Since its discovery in southeastern Michigan in 2002, the EAB is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the U.S. The beetle has now been detected in 14 states and two neighboring Canadian provinces. The primary way this insect spreads is when firewood and wood products are moved from one place to another.
Adult Emerald Ash Borer. Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University. Used with permission.
EAB in New York State:
New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk. June 2009: The Emerald Ash Borer was first detected in New York in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County. Since the Randolph find, state and federal officials have implemented an extensive monitoring effort that includes the deployment of approximately 7,500 EAB purple traps in ash trees in high risk locations, including major transportation corridors. The traps are sticky and contain a chemical lure that attracts adult EAB. July 2010: The EAB was discovered on private properties in the Town of Bath in Steuben County, and in the Town of Saugerties in Ulster County. The Steuben County discovery occurred on July 12 when a DEC staff member inspected one of the state’s EAB purple traps; the EAB detection was confirmed by Cornell University. The Ulster County discovery occurred on July 15 after USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff member check of a federally-deployed EAB trap, and was confirmed by USDA APHIS. Each EAB trap had one confirmed EAB specimen.
Emerald Ash Borer, Side View. Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University. Used with permission.
August 2010: DEC announced the discovery of a well-established EAB infestation in northern Ulster County that includes land within the Catskill Park’s Forest Preserve. The discovery is a result of surveying efforts by DEC, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, and APHIS. Further investigative surveying of the initial site and the surrounding area has begun. Evidence of EAB has since been found at a total of 19 sites spread over an area of approximately 15 square miles, encompassing the Ulster County towns of Saugerties, Ulster, Kingston, Woodstock and Hurley. Infested trees are now estimated to be in the hundreds and the center of the infestation appears to be in the vicinity of the hamlet of Ruby. This discovery of EAB is particularly troubling because it is within the boundaries of one of the state’s constitutionally protected forest preserves. EAB has also been confirmed in Greene and Livingston counties in August. A specimen on private land in Catskill, Greene County, was confirmed this week and is likely an extension of the Ulster County infestation. In Livingston County, the presence of EAB was confirmed in a trap on a public right-of-way in Caledonia. Staff are continuing surveys to delineate the EAB presence in those and surrounding areas. August 16, 2010: DEC announced that EAB has been confirmed in Monroe County as well. August 18, 2010: EAB has been confirmed in Genesee County. June of 2011: An infestation of EAB was found in Erie County at the City of Buffalo’s South Park. July 13, 2011: An adult Emerald Ash Borer was discovered at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in Orange County, in an emerald ash borer prism trap used to detect new emerald ash borer infestations. The state and federal emerald ash borer quarantine of Ulster and Greene County will now be expanded to include Orange County. The quarantine restricts the movement of ash tree materials out of those counties to prevent human transport of the pest.
The discovery of EAB within the Catskill Forest Preserve is a reminder that many of New York State's forests and parklands are high-risk areas due to firewood movement by campers. Visitors to campgrounds in New York should get firewood at the campground, or from a local vendor. Ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood’s local source. Identification of dead and dying ash trees, especially within popular campgrounds and parklands, may require additional measures to ensure the safety of campers and other visitors.
New York State adopted regulations in 2008 that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restrict intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source (see http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html ). DEC’s firewood regulations are extremely important and remain in effect today. DEC is increasing its enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of untreated firewood into and around New York.
Those transporting firewood within New York must have a receipt or label listing the firewood's source, and the wood must remain within 50 miles of that source. For firewood that is not purchased (for instance, it is cut from personal property) one must have a “Self-Issued Certificate of Source” and the wood must be sourced within 50 miles of the destination. The Certificate is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfisscert.pdf . Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source.
The public needs to be aware of signs of infestation in ash trees on their property and in their community. If you suspect an ash tree could be infested by EAB, go to the websites below for more information. If damage is consistent with the known symptoms of EAB infestation, report suspected damage to the state by calling 1-866-640-0652 for appropriate action as time and resources allow.