Two recent detections of Emerald Ash Borer infested trees in Angola and Fredonia, both near the NYS Thruway, remind local communities and landowners to continue to be vigilant in planning and preparing for the eventual, but gradual spread of this devastating invasive insect.
Experts from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed in March that EAB larvae were removed from ash trees at both sites in late February. The Chautauqua detection, according to NYS DEC, is significant in that it is the first reported find of EAB infested ash trees in that county.
The infested trees were detected by a member of the WNY EAB Taskforce who observed bark stripped from ash trees by woodpeckers (woodpeckering on ash), a sign of an infestation on ash trees which is most visible during late winter when EAB larvae are larger.
Emerald ash borer is a small invasive green beetle that infests and kills all species of American ash (Fraxinus) trees. EAB has been in the U.S. since the mid-1990s and was likely introduced through wood packing material brought into Michigan where EAB was first identified in 2002. The first detection in New York was near Randolph in Cattaraugus County in 2009. Currently there are 21 counties in New York with known EAB infestations. Ash trees are commonly found as street trees, along roadsides, and in yards and forests comprising roughly 15 percent of all trees in Erie County and 10 percent of trees in Chautauqua County.
In the U.S., it has been estimated that the cost of removal and replacement of ash trees in affected communities will be over $10.7 billion. Researchers anticipate that wood-boring insects such as EAB will cause the largest economic impacts by annually inducing nearly $1.7 billion in local government expenditures and approximately $830 million in lost residential property values. Homeowners and local governments together are estimated to bear over 90 percent of the overall costs associated with EAB.