Published April 18. 2012 1:51PM Updated April 18. 2012 2:08PM
The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in an area of New York state 23 miles from the Connecticut border, state officials announced today.
The invasive insect is an extremely destructive plant pest and is responsible for the death and decline of more than 25 million ash trees in the United States in urban areas and forests since June 2002, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said in a news release. The announcement was made jointly by DEEP and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Federal officials have confirmed the presence of the ash borer across the Hudson River in Dutchess County, N.Y., about 23 miles west of Sharon.
“This is the first confirmed (Emerald Ash Borer) finding east of the Hudson River and dashes hopes of a natural geographic barrier between Connecticut and established infestations in several New York State counties along the west side of the river,” DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty said. “The close proximity to Connecticut places our Ash trees at an even greater risk since the eastward expansion into Connecticut now seems inevitable. We will increase our efforts to detect the presence in Connecticut and are urging all of our state residents to do their part in stopping its spread. ”
Louis Magnarelli, director of the experiment station, noted that the ash borer can fly significant distances, so its zone of infestation is likely to expand.
“The movement of infested firewood further increases the risk of the pest entering Connecticut,” he added.
The ash borer was discovered in Saugerties, N.Y. July 2010, and since then state and federal quarantines have been established in Green, Ulster and Orange counties in New York. Signs of infestation include D-shaped holes, bark splits, and crown die back.
Since the discovery of ash borer in New York, the DEEP in cooperation with other state and federal agencies has taken several steps to detect ash borer and slow its spread if discovered. In May the state set 940 detection traps across the state to monitor for the insect. The traps were placed in every county with the exception of Windham and New London counties, because they were greater than 50 miles from the nearest known infestation. This year, the traps will be placed in all Connecticut counties.
Monitoring of the traps is led by the University of Connecticut Extension Service in cooperation with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, DEEP forestry and state parks personnel, the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additionally, many landowners, wood product businesses and municipalities will also have traps placed on their property.
The state has also mounted a public education campaign to alert state residents to the threat of ash borer and other invasive species and how to help prevent the spread.
To prevent the spread of Emerald ash borer, residents are reminded:
not to transport firewood. It spreads quickly on its own and can be inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products.
to buy firewood locally, burn all firewood at your campsite before leaving, and never bring firewood home.
firewood used to heat homes should be purchased from a few miles away or in the same county.
DEEP is asking residents to report possible infestations to the experiment station at (203) 974-8474 or CAES.State.Entomologist@ct.gov; or to: www.beetledetectives.com.