Residents Urged to Become Aware of Emerald Ash Borer and ReportInfestations to DEC

The emerald ash borer is smaller than
a penny. Photo: Howard Russell,
MI State U.,

The fourth annual Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week will be heldfrom May 18 – May 24, 2014, the New York State Department ofEnvironmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. In observance of EABAwareness Week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation urgingall New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect treesfrom infestation that can be devastating to landscapes, habitats andforest product industries. State residents and visitors are encouragedto learn as much as possible about the emerald ash borer and thedestruction it causes to trees.

“DEC’s Forest Health program protects publicly and privately heldforests from forest pests, and the public is an important partner in theconstant battle to keep New York’s trees healthy,” said CommissionerJoe Martens. “EAB Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight andencourage New Yorkers to look for and report signs of infestations in aneffort to mitigate the negative impacts of this destructive beetle.”

“The beginning of the camping season is quickly approaching and it isimportant to remind travelers in New York State to use only localfirewood. The spread of these insects, and other forest pests, havebeen dramatically increased through human transport. By keeping firewoodlocal and discovering infestations early, we have a greater chance inkeeping these agents from changing the face of our forests, CommissionerMartens added.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Communities ofall sizes are encouraged to participate in EAB Awareness Week activitiessince the borer negatively affects both rural and urban forests. Thereare 900 million ash trees in NYS and unless we continue to take actionagainst this invasive pest, we will see a devastating impact bothecologically and economically.”

As part of EAB Awareness Week, DEC, the Department of Agriculture andMarkets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Office of Parks, Recreationand Historic Preservation and volunteers will post signs and tie ribbonson more than 6,000 ash trees along select streets and in parks aroundthe state that are populated with ash trees. DEC will attach the signsto several ash trees in Albany*s riverfront park, the CorningPreserve, on May 19th. These signs will be among the hundreds that willbe placed around Albany to inform citizens that those ash trees, and allof New York State’s 900 million ash trees, could be killed by theemerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer, first discovered in New York in 2009, is aninvasive insect that kills all types of ash trees. Twenty-two countiesin New York currently have infestations and state agencies are workingdiligently to stop the movement of beetles out of these areas infirewood and other wood products. Tens of millions of ash trees havebeen killed in the United States by the emerald ash borer and all of thehundreds of millions of ash trees in New York are at risk.

To help slow the spread of EAB, all citizens are asked not to movefirewood and to look for and report the signs of the beetle on ashtrees. Citizens should be aware of New York State’s firewood regulations(, which restrict the movement ofuntreated firewood to 50 miles, and EAB quarantines, which prevent thespread of potentially infested materials.

DEC is continuing to pursue and promote a strategy called Slow AshMortality (SLAM) to slow the spread of EAB within the state and mitigateits devastating economic and environmental impacts. DEC*s SLAMstrategy encompasses a variety of approaches including removing infestedtrees, defining and monitoring infestation boundaries more precisely,and researching insecticides and organisms that will kill the insect.

DEC Land and Forests staff will be placing approximately 700 purplepanel traps in high risk locations located near densely populated areasthroughout the state. These traps have been used for the past severalyears, and have been instrumental in identifying EAB infestations acrossthe state.

DEC forest health crews are attacking the infestations in all affectedcounties and the USDA Forest Service is actively participating in theefforts to slow the spread of this insect in the lower Hudson Valley.DEC conducts surveys to determine the extent of existing and newinfestations and works with local communities to devise appropriatemanagement responses. In some areas, these crews are also preparingspecial trap trees in the infested area so the beetles are enticed tostay nearby, where they can easily be destroyed next year. Thistechnique dramatically reduces the rate of spread of the infestation andkeeps it in a location where the trees with beetles in them can beidentified.

To report possible infestations, fill out the Emerald Ash Borer SurveyForm at: or for moreinformation, visit the DEC website at and search”emerald ash borer,” or call DEC’s toll-free hotline at1-866-640-0652.

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