MA and NH Counties are Quarantined Because of the Emerald Ash Borer
By Chris Williams on April 16, 2014.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, very pretty, and very destructive beetle that was recently introduced into the U.S. from Asia. It was first found in North America in 2002 near Detroit. It has since spread to 22 states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The adult beetle is a metallic emerald green in color. The immature or larval stage of the beetle bores into the cambium layer under the bark of an ash tree. Because the cambium layer carries the nutrients for the tree, larval feeding and tunneling can kill the tree within 3-5 years of infestation. There is little early evidence of an EAB infestation other than D-shaped beetle exit holes in the bark. The upper 1/3 of the tree canopy dies back first and new branches may sprout below this area. Eventually the entire tree is affected. You may notice woodpeckers trying to reach the larvae under the bark.
The EAB is spread rapidly into new areas in ash firewood, nursery stock, and wood debris. Not only is the death of millions of ash trees an economic hit to an affected state, but there is the added cost of treating trees, removing and disposing of dead and dying trees, and replacing trees.
Because the Emerald Ash Borer is an introduced species from another continent, it has no parasites or diseases in this country to hold it in check. Federal authorities have determined that eradication of this pest is not feasible so quarantines are put in place to try to slow its spread. A quarantine is imposed by the state impacted and prohibits movement (without a permit) of ash wood materials out of the infested county. Quarantined materials include all firewood, ash nursery stock, green lumber, logs, branches, and ash mulch, chips, bark, and debris.
Emerald Ash Borer in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the Emerald Ash Borer was first found in Dalton in August 2012, leading to a quarantine in Berkshire County. It was then later found in North Andover in fall 2013. As a result, a quarantine recently began in Essex County on April 1. Ash trees are a main component of the state’s hardwood forests and are common street trees in eastern Massachusetts.
Emerald Ash Borer in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, the borer was first spotted in Concord in Spring 2013 and a quarantine was immediately imposed on movement of ash materials outside of Merrimack County. In New Hampshire, ash trees have been widely planted and are an important part of the state’s northern hardwood forests with an estimated 25 million mature trees in the state and now endangered by the beetle.
How Does an EAB Quarantine Affect Me?
- Any hardwood firewood (not just ash) piece smaller than 48 inches cannot be moved outside of the regulated area. Find a local and trusted firewood supplier, or buy only wood that is certified to have been treated.
- Do not carry any firewood into state parks or forests.
- All ash nursery stock and any ash lumber not treated* cannot be moved outside of the regulated area.
- Ash mulch, chips, or debris may not be moved out of a quarantined area.
*Acceptable treatment of wood includes removing the bark with ½ inch of wood, dry kiln sterilization, fumigation, or heat treatment.
To report a possible sighting of EAB in Massachusetts, click here.
To report the sighting of EAB in New Hampshire, click here.