DEC confirms emerald ash borer in Warren County

The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle native to Asia that kills ash trees. (Photo provided from Wikimedia Commons)

CHESTER — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced on Tuesday that emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Warren County.

This marks the first confirmed case of EAB within the Adirondack Park, according to a press release from the DEC.

The affected trees were identified by Department of Transportation personnel at the Warren County Canoe Launch on Schroon River in the town of Chester. A sample has been sent to Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Lab for further review.

“New York state is at the forefront of invasive species monitoring and prevention and this latest find of EAB, while concerning, also hardens our determination to do all we can to protect our natural resources from their destructive effects,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “DEC and our partners will continue our significant investments in finding strategies that mitigate and address invasive species in our environment and raise public awareness so that all New Yorkers can take part in helping to protect the Adirondacks and our entire state.”

Emerald ash borer are a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American native ash species, according to the press release. The larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark of trees, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree often within a few years. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inches long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. These insects may be present from late May through early September, but are most common in June and July. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing and browning of leaves.

An emerald ash borer, deadly to ash trees, is brightly colored but smaller than a penny. (Photo provided)

“It’s very sad to hear that the Emerald Ash Borer has reached Warren County,” said Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. “The spread of this invasive will be absolutely devastating to our ash trees and substantially degrade our beautiful forests.”

Locating infested sites early can significantly delay the loss of ash trees and decrease the subsequent costs for their removal and replacement. Although ash trees and wood are no longer subject to quarantine in New York State, DEC invasive species regulations prohibit most movement of EAB and other prohibited species, according to the press release. DEC firewood regulations regulate the movement of untreated firewood of all wood species to prevent the spread of invasive tree pests, including EAB. The agency also recommends that wood from ash trees that have been infested and/or killed by EAB be left or utilized on site. The wood could also be chipped to less than one inch in at least two dimensions to prevent further spread.

“Sadly, we cannot turn back the clock and stop Emerald Ash Borer from entering the Adirondack Park,” said Tammara Van Ryn, Manager of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. “However, firewood is often a source of Emerald Ash Borer, and residents and visitors can help reduce the future spread by using local firewood instead of transporting it from other areas.”

The DEC encourages residents of Warren County to pay close attention to signs of emerald ash borer and report potential instances to the agency.

Occurrences of any invasive species can be reported to the DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostic Laboratory by emailing photographs to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. New invasive species sightings can also be reported directly to New York’s invasive species database through the iMapInvasives mobile app. For more information, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/.

The emerald ash borer alone has the potential to cause $12.7 billion in damage to U.S. trees by 2020, according to a peer-reviewed study this year by more than a dozen experts. (Photo provided)

For more information and treatment options for emerald ash borer, visit the DEC’s website.


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