Emerald Ashborer Expands its Infestation in Connecticut

There are more signs that a destructive beetle responsible for killing tens of million of ash trees from the midwest to New York and south to Tennessee, continues to make its way into New England. The Connecticut Agricultural Station announced this week the Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in the town of Hamden. this is the 9th community in the state where the invasive insect has been found, all in New Haven County. State entomologist Kirby Stafford says the county is under a federal and state quarantine that restricts the movement of ash and firewood in order to slow the progress of the infestation.

“It’s going to spread, but by slowing the spread of this beetle we’re hoping to delay the inevitable cost of either removing or treating ash trees in new communities.”

Stafford says the beetle will spread naturally because it can fly.  But  the primary cause of the spread has been the transport of ash trees, which he says are an excellent source of firewood.

“Somebody cuts down their ash and may, you know, take it to their summer cabin or vacation or campground, even across several states. And then, as a consequent move, the insect that’s in that wood emerges from that wood and you end up with a new infestation.”

Stafford says any firewood should be bought and burned locally. A common urban tree, Ash comprises up to 15 percent of Connecticut’s forests. In Massachusetts, the emerald ash borer was first detected last summer in the Berkshire County town of Dalton. And New Hampshire officials say the beetle was detected for the first time in the Granite state this past March, becoming the 19th state where the insect has been found.