Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed for the first time in Saratoga County by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Capital-Mohawk Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) and the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
DEC staff and the CapMo PRISM coordinator verified the presence of EAB in Waterford, NY after a concerned landowner contacted the organization to report their discovery. Additionally, APHIS confirmed EAB in Ballston Lake as a result of the regular monitoring efforts to detect the beetle.
With the confirmation in Saratoga County, the number of New York counties with EAB has climbed to 34 according to a statement sent to the media by the DEC. A northern portion of Saratoga County lies within the Adirondack Park.
The EAB is a small beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white and black ash. Damage from EAB is caused by the 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.
New York has more than 900 million ash trees according to DEC, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state; all are at risk from EAB. Urban and suburban communities face particular risks, as ash is a common street and park tree. Green ash, in particular, has been widely planted as an ornamental tree in yards. Locating infested sites early can significantly delay the loss of ash trees and decrease the subsequent costs for their removal and replacement.
DEC is urging 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. 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. To learn more about EAB, as well as efforts to reduce its negative impact and save trees, visit DEC’s website.
The primary means by which EAB is spread is by being moved by humans, particularly on firewood and infested ash logs. DEC regulations prohibit the movement of firewood beyond 50 miles from its source. Quarantine regulations also prohibit the movement of ash wood out of “Restrictive Zones” in order to delay the spread of EAB to nearby un-infested areas. Updated quarantine maps are available on DEC’s website. When infestations are found outside of the Restrictive Zones, DEC recommends that infested wood be kept local or destroyed, to avoid spreading the beetle to new areas.
DEC began setting purple baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of EAB in 2009.
To report signs of EAB, or ash trees showing symptoms of EAB attack, call DEC’s Forest Health Information Line at 1-866-640-0652 or submit an EAB report available on DEC’s website.
Photo of Emerald Ash Borer provided.