Officials in Massachusetts are taking steps to limit the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. The invasive insect was detected in Berkshire County last summer and poses a threat to the state’s ash trees, 80-percent of which are located west of the Connecticut River. The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle which can kill a tree in just two to four years from the start of an infestation. The insect lives under the bark, feeding on the trunk and cutting off the flow of water and nutrients. There are no known scientific methods to slow or stop the insect. To limit its spread, officials are restricting the movement of ash wood from Berkshire County. Businesses are not allowed to move lumber made of ash from the county without it first being heat treated. Ed Lambert is a Commissioner with the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation. He says the agency is particularly concerned with residents moving any firewood when it comes to slowing the spread of the beetle.
“So we’re asking people to buy local firewood, to burn it local, to burn it where they get it, and to not transport firewood to the extent they don’t have to because there’s always the potential, if it’s infected, they could spread that infestation to other parts of the state and beyond.”
Lambert says five trees in the Pittsfield-Dalton area have recently been found with the Emerald Ash Borer.
“That’s a sign that it’s still a very early infestation and still fairly limited. But, it’s still important for us to try to, as a result of that information, try to make sure wood does not get spread outside of Berkshire County, but to the extent it doesn’t have to be transported inside of Berkshire County.”
The insect, which is native to Asia, has spread to 18 states since first being detected in 2002.