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Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Broome and Westchester Counties

November 13, 2014

EAB Found as Part of DEC’s 2014 Trapping Program

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Westchester and Broome counties by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Cornell and the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The beetle was found in DEC-deployed traps just north of the city of Peekskill in Westchester County, and southeast of Binghamton in Broome County. The Peekskill find is just outside the current state and Federal EAB quarantine which encompasses all or part of 42 counties through central and western NY, including Orange and Putnam.

“DEC deployed the trap that detected the EAB beetle as part of DEC’s continuing Slow Ash Mortality (SLAM) strategy, to slow the spread of EAB within the state and mitigate its economic and environmental impacts,” said Commissioner Martens. “SLAM is an approach we’re using in New York to combat EAB and includes the removal of infested trees, defining and monitoring infestation boundaries more precisely, researching insecticides and organisms that kill the pest, and monitoring areas not known to be infested for signs of EAB presence.”

EAB was first detected in New York in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. With the confirmation of EAB in Westchester and Broome counties, New York now has 24 counties where EAB has been found. Most of the infested areas are small and localized while more than 98 percent of New York’s forests and communities are not yet infested.

Over the past several years, DEC and APHIS have deployed purple traps statewide during the summer months to help detect any new infestations of the insect. DEC staff will expand survey efforts over the next several months to determine if this pest has become established in the area.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our Department has worked diligently with DEC and industry to slow the spread of this pest across New York. As a result of these recent findings, we will work with affected stakeholders including nurseries, arborists and communities to educate them on this invasive species and take steps to reduce its impact.”

New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk from EAB. Urban and suburban communities face particular risks, as ash is a common street and park tree; and green ash, in particular, has been widely planted as an ornamental tree in yards. Efforts like DEC’s SLAM initiative can significantly delay the loss of ash trees and the subsequent costs for their removal and replacement.

DEC urges residents and municipalities to inventory their ash trees and inspect them for signs of infestation. Homeowners and municipalities can contact the nearest DEC Forestry Office for technical assistance and management recommendations to prepare for the threat of EAB. Management options include treating healthy trees with insecticide, removing stressed trees that may attract the EAB and replanting with non-host trees, among other techniques. Forest landowners can request a DEC Forester visit their woodlot and develop a free Forest Stewardship Plan. This plan would address the landowner’s objectives and discuss how the arrival (or proximity) of EAB could impact the owner’s forest resources. Forest owners can schedule a site visit by contacting their local DEC Forestry office on DEC’s website. To learn more about EAB, as well as efforts to reduce its negative impact and save trees, visit DEC’s website.

The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black and blue ash. Damage from EAB is caused by larvae, which feed just below the ash tree’s bark. The tunnels they create 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, splits in the bark and extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.

Human assisted movement is the primary means by which EAB is spread and moved around the state, particularly on firewood and infested ash logs. Quarantine regulations prohibit any movement of firewood or logs containing any live EAB and DEC’s firewood regulations prohibit movement of untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source or origin.

To report signs of EAB, or ash trees showing symptoms of EAB attack, call DEC’s emerald ash borer hotline at 1-866-640-0652 or submit an EAB report on DEC’s website.

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