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Emerald Ash Borer

GC Soil and Water and DEC offer free Zoom webinar Aug. 4 on tree pests the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

The recent infestations of the gypsy moth (right photo) (also known as Lymantria dispar dispar -- LDD) and emerald ash borer -- EAB (also known as Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), along with other pests and diseases, have been the cause of a lot of concern in Western New York recently.

The adult gypsy moths are emerging. While the initial damage from their caterpillars is done for this year, now is a great time to learn about how to reduce or mitigate damage that may occur from next year’s caterpillars.

Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District, along with our partner the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, will be hosting a FREE online webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 4th, at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

NYSDEC forester Gary Koplun will present about ways to manage the gypsy moth, as well as speak about the emerald ash borer and other issues that stress trees.

There will be an opportunity for questions as well as resources provided.

You can register today by visiting the Conservation District's website.

DEC expands Emerald Ash Borer restricted areas

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today announced that eight existing Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Restricted Zones have been expanded and merged into a single Restricted Zone in order to strengthen the State’s efforts to slow the spread of this invasive pest. 

The new EAB Restricted Zone includes part or all of Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Chemung, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

The EAB Restricted Zone prohibits the movement of EAB and potentially infested ash wood. The map is available on the DEC website

“The expanded Restricted Zone for the destructive pest Emerald Ash Borer will help to slow the spread of this tree-killing beetle, protecting millions of ash trees in New York,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC will continue our efforts to slow the spread of this beetle and do what we can to help communities prepare for EAB.”

“It’s critical that we continue to track the Emerald Ash Borer and adjust our efforts to combat and slow the spread of this invasive beetle that damages and kills ash trees in both our forested and urban settings,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “By expanding the Restricted Zone, we can ensure that EAB and potentially infested ash wood does not leave the quarantine areas.”

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) or “EAB” is a serious invasive tree pest in the United States, killing hundreds of millions of ash trees in forests, yards, and neighborhoods. The beetles’ larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, preventing the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They 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. 

EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario, Canada the same year. This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible.

EAB larvae can be moved long distances in firewood, logs, branches, and nursery stock, later emerging to infest new areas. These regulated articles may not leave the Restricted Zone without a compliance agreement or limited permit from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, applicable only during the non-flight season (September 1 - April 30).

Regulated articles from outside of the Restricted Zone may travel through the Restricted Zone as long as the origin and the destination are listed on the waybill and the articles are moved without stopping, except for traffic conditions and refueling. Wood chips may not leave the Restricted Zone between April 15th and May 15th of each year when EAB is likely to emerge.

For more information about EAB or the emergency orders, please visit DEC’s website. If you see signs of EAB attack on ash trees outside of the Restrictive Zone, please report these occurrences to the DEC’s Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652.

Purple boxes in Genesee County trees coming down today

By Howard B. Owens

USDA officials are out in the county today removing the purple Emerald Ash Borer traps set up this spring, according to a report that just came over the scanner.

The traps, as we reported in June, were designed to track whether the Emerald Ash Borer has yet appeared in Genesee County. 

Sen. Gillibrand pushes for funding to deal with Emerald Ash Borer

By Howard B. Owens

New York's junior senator must have noticed the purple boxes hanging from trees along the State's highways. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is now taking up the cause of solving the Emerald Ash Borer problem, even though there are as yet no confirmed findings of the pest in the state.

Gillibrand's office issued a press release today noting that the senator urging approval of an agriculture appropriations bill with $39.7 million in ash borer spending.

“The Emerald Ash Borer has the potential to devastate New York’s more than 900 million ash trees,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must help our communities with the funds to manage this problem and protect the environment.”

Update: Contrary to Sen. Gillibran's press release, and what we believed to be true when we posted this, the ash borer has been found in New York. (hat tip, Brian Schollard).

UPDATE II: Bethany Lesser of Sen. Gillibrand's office called to say "we know it's been found in New York."  She clarified that Sen. Gillibrand is asking that NY be added to the funding list.

Full press release after the jump:

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Gillibrand continued her fight to ensure New York State receives federal funding to combat the Emerald Ash Borer. The disease is threatening New York’s 900 million ash trees, which are part of the billion dollar timber industry in New York supplying furniture makers, hardware stores and the wood for Louisville Slugger baseball bats, according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Agriculture Appropriations Bill has $39,705,000 for Emerald Ash Borer Monitoring, Containment, and Eradication. This funding would be used to combat and contain the emerald ash borer that is currently threatening 7.5 billion trees nationally – an economic value of over $300 billion. The current committee report lists 12 states which are affected by this invasive pest, but does not include New York State. Late yesterday, Senator Gillibrand received a commitment from the Chairman to address this during conference and allow New York State to access these funds.
“The Emerald Ash Borer has the potential to devastate New York’s more than 900 million ash trees,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must help our communities with the funds to manage this problem and protect the environment.”
“I would like to thank my colleague for bringing this to my attention and I will certainly address this issue during conference,” said Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI).

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect that has destroyed over 50 million ash trees in the U.S. to date. If unchecked, the Emerald Ash Borer has the potential to cost billions of dollars in damage nationwide, including millions of dollars in costs to municipalities for street tree removal and replanting, and significant costs for private homeowners. According to a report by Michigan State University, it can cost $400 to remove and replace a single infected tree.

The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle native to Asia that was first found in the U.S. in Michigan and has been steadily making its way eastward. It is a dark, metallic green beetle that burrows into tree bark and chokes trees to death by feeding on the live tissue that transports nutrients throughout the tree. Bug-infested trees typically die within five years.

Purple boxes spotted in Genesee County trees designed to trap Emerald Ash Borer

By Howard B. Owens

Purple boxes are being spotted all over Genesee County. They can be seen hanging from trees and look rather curious.

The hanging prisms are intended to help USDA and state officials spot any new infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer, a pesky little beetle that munches on Ash leaves, but worse, lays larva in the Ash bark, which bores into the wood, disrupting a trees circulation system, eventually killing the tree.

Emerald Ash Borers have killed 10s of millions of Ash trees in North America, according to Sharon Lucik, a public information officer for the USDA in Michigan, where the beetle was first spotted in the U.S. in 2002.

No beetles have been found in New York, yet, with the borers being found in Canada and Pennsylvania, the USDA and state officials want to know as soon as it is spotted in the area, if ever, and make sure the area is quarantined, which means no wood can be transported from that area.

Apparently, the Emerald Ash Borer loves the color purple. The traps also contain a lure that smells to the beetle like a distressed Ash tree, such as one that has been damaged by man or mother nature.  The beetles will attack a healthy tree, but are quick to head to a tree it suspects is in a weakened state.

The beetles like Ash and only Ash.

Reader Gary Diegelman, who alerted us to this story and did some initial research, said he found out the boxes are placed on road right of ways approximately every 1.5 miles. The boxes will be hanging around most of the summer.

There is no government eradication program, Lucik said. It's up to each individual property owner to decide what to do if a beetle is found on his or her property.  The options include doing nothing, spraying a pesticide or removing the invested trees.  Of course, in the third option, the wood cannot be taken from the quarantined area.

The Ash Borer is a native of Asia and there is no known predator for the pest in North America.  It probably arrived in the U.S. riding in packing create wood or pallets aboard cargo ships.

The beetle would probably only migrate no more than half a mile a year on its own, Lucik said, but when people use Ash for fire wood or building material, the Ash can be transported up to hundreds of miles. 

The USDA program is designed aimed at quick detection so any invested Ash doesn't leave the area.

(Trap picture borrowed from a government Web site. It is not a local picture.)

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