New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials reported this week that the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, is active in five towns in three counties.
Municipal officials and residents of Bridgewater and Hillsborough in Somerset County, Westampton in Burlington County and Ewing and West Windsor in Mercer County are encouraged to visit the New Jersey Emerald Ash Borer website www.emeraldashborer.nj.gov where they can find resources on how to protect their ash trees or what to do with dead or dying trees.
“Emerald ash borer is a fast-moving, highly destructive invasive pest, which could lead to the death of ash trees,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Now that the beetle is in New Jersey and is starting to spread, we ask that towns put plans in place to respond to the beetle.”
Emerald ash borer was first discovered in New Jersey in May 2014 by a private citizen in Bridgewater. EAB is now present in 25 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has since killed tens of millions of trees.
The adult emerald ash borer is a metallic green insect about one-half inch long and one-eighth inch wide making it hard to detect in the wild. The female beetles lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. The eggs hatch and the larvae bore into the bark to the fluid-conducting vessels underneath. The larvae feed and develop, cutting off the flow of nutrients and, eventually killing the tree. EAB attacks and kills North American species of true ash, and tree death occurs three to five years following initial infestation. EAB is native to Asia.
The state has set up traps in ash trees to track EAB’s potential spread in 27 Burlington County towns, three Camden County towns, eight Hunterdon County towns, 10 Mercer County towns, 11 Middlesex County towns, 2 Monmouth County towns, 3 Morris County towns, 15 Somerset County towns and eight Union County towns. For the list of towns, go towww.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/pdf/2015eabtraplist.pdf.
The New Jersey Emerald Ash Borer website has many resources for municipal officials, woodland owners and residents. The site explains the signs of the beetle, how to identify ash trees, how to report a possible infestation, and what to do with dead or removed trees. For towns, there is an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan template and a tree removal cost calculator. For homeowners, there is a risk map and treatment options. For woodland owners, there is a list of companies that will accept ash.
New Jersey is part of a federal quarantine to prevent the spread of the beetle, which prohibits movement of ash trees outside of the quarantine zone. The Department also recommends not moving firewood. Firewood is a vehicle for movement of tree-killing forest pests including EAB. Use locally-sourced firewood when burning it at home and when travelling, burn firewood where you buy it. Make sure to burn all wood purchased.
Report signs of the beetle to the Department of Agriculture at 609-406-6939. For more information about Emerald Ash Borer, visit www.emeraldashborer.nj.gov.
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