The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) today announced that federal agricultural officials have confirmed the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) across the Hudson River in adjacent Dutchess County, New York approximately 23 miles west of Sharon, Connecticut. EAB is an extremely destructive plant pest and it is responsible for the death and decline of over 25 million ash trees in the United States in urban and forested settings since June 2002.
“This is the first confirmed EAB 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,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “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 of EAB in Connecticut and are urging all of our state residents to do their part in stopping its spread. ”
“The strong flight potential of the Emerald Ash Borer will expand the zones of infestation,” said Louis A. Magnarelli, Director of CAES. “The movement of infested firewood further increases the risk of the pest entering Connecticut.”
EAB was discovered in Saugerties, New York July 2010. Follow-up detection surveys have since expanded state and federal quarantines to Green, Ulster, and Orange counties in New York. Visual signs or symptoms of infestation include D-shaped holes, bark splits, and crown die back. White ash trees are most prominent in the northwest corner, the very southwest corner, and east central sections of Connecticut.
Since the discovery of EAB in eastern New York in 2010, the DEEP in cooperation with other state and federal agencies have taken an aggressive approach in attempting to detect EAB and to slow its spread if it is discovered. In May 2011 the state deployed 940 detection traps across the state to monitor for the presence of EAB. The traps were placed in every Connecticut County with the exception of Windham and New London counties because they were greater than 50 miles from the nearest known detection. In 2012, the traps will be placed in all Connecticut counties.
Monitoring of the traps is led by the University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension Service in cooperation with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), DEEP Forestry and State Parks personnel, the Department of Transportation (DOT), 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 EAB and other invasive species and how to help prevent the spread.
Ways to Prevent the Spread of EAB
- DEEP and CAES urge citizens not to transport firewood. EAB spreads quickly on its own and can be inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products.
- Buy firewood locally at or near the campground, burn all firewood at your campsite before you leave, and never bring firewood home.
- For those who use firewood to heat their homes, your firewood should be from only a few miles away or at least in the same county.
DEEP is asking Connecticut residents to report possible EAB infestations to CAES or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ). Early detection, although difficult, is the best defense against further infestation. Residents suspecting they have seen EAB should report their findings to CAES at (203) 974-8474 or CAES.StateEntomologist@ct.gov (digital photos of suspect insects and damage on the trees are very helpful). Residents can also report sightings to APHIS-PPQ via their website at www.beetledetectives.com.
Background on EAB
The EAB is a small, green beetle that belongs to a large family of beetles known as the buprestids, or metallic wood boring beetles. The description is apt, as many of the buprestids appear as if their wing covers are made of polished metal. The adult EAB has green, iridescent wing covers and is approximately one-half inch in length.
The EAB is an insect that is not native to North America. It was first found in 2002 in the vicinity of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. It is presumed to have arrived several years earlier presumably on woody packaging materials from Asia. It is now known to be found in 12 states. Emerald Ash Borers feed strictly on ash trees. The larvae feed just beneath the bark on the inside of the trees, while the adults feed on leaves.
More information may be found at: DEEP: Emerald Ash Borer.