Recent detections of trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Angola (Erie County) and Fredonia (Chautauqua County), both near the NYS Thruway, remind us that we need to continue to prepare for the eventual spread of this devastating invasive insect, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The Chautauqua detection is the first reported find of EAB infested ash trees in that county, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
A free information session on the EAB will be offered at 7 p.m. Monday, May 5 at McEwen G24 on the Fredonia State College Campus.
The emerald ash borer is a small invasive green beetle that infests and kills all species of American ash (Fraxinus) trees. EAB has been in the US since the mid-1990s and was likely introduced through wood packing material brought into Michigan where EAB was first identified in 2002. The first detection in New York was near Randolph in Cattaraugus County in 2009. It was detected in Olmsted Parks in Buffalo in 2011.
Ash trees comprise roughly 15 percent of all trees in Erie County and 10 percent of trees in Chautauqua County.
Left unchecked, an EAB infestation will kill all ash trees. Dead ash trees pose a public safety hazard whether on public lands or private property.
Resources are available through local EAB Taskforces to assist landowners in determining if ash trees are infested with EAB and planning for treatment or removal. Pesticide treatments or tree removals should be conducted by licensed and/or certified professionals with liability insurance and local references.
Questions about ash tree management options or other questions regarding emerald ash borer can be directed locally to NYS DEC Region 9 Forestry Division (716-851-7010), WNY EAB Taskforce (716-652-5400 x 150) or a consulting certified arborist. The WNY Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) is another area resource for information on invasive species.
There are state and federal restrictions on the movement of wood materials, with special restrictions on wood contaminated with EAB. It is important not to move firewood from a known EAB infested area.
Communities need to consider their management options to retain tree canopy, contain costs, minimize risk and exposure to liability.
Experts from the state DEC and the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed in March that EAB larvae were removed from ash trees at both sites in late February.
The infested trees were detected by a member of the WNY EAB Taskforce who observed bark stripped from ash trees by woodpeckers (woodpeckering on ash), a sign of an infestation on ash trees that is most visible during late winter when EAB larvae are larger.
Working in coordination with Mark Whitmore, Forest Entomologist from Cornell University, the local WNY Emerald Ash Borer Task Force has been active in connecting communities and local governments together, and with state and local agencies to plan, prepare and educate on Emerald Ash Borer since August 2011. The Task Force is comprised of forestry resource professionals, scientists, natural resource managers, local officials and private citizens with a mission to facilitate a local, science-based response to the economic, ecological and public safety impacts of EAB within the forests and communities of the eight-county region of Western New York.
For more information about the WNY EAB Task Force, contact Sharon Bachman at 716-652-5400 x 150.