The Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy reports a beetle that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees across the U.S. has been detected in Connecticut for the first time.
The insect is the emerald ash borer which places at risk the 22 million ash trees in the state, up to 15 percent of
Connecticut’s forests. Already the borer has ravaged tree stands in 15 states from New York to Tennessee, the U.S. Midwest and Eastern Canada.
A field team from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven reported the presence of the borer in Prospect, southeast of Waterbury, an identification confirmed by the Department of Agriculture.
An unconfirmed infestation was also reported nearby in the Naugatuck State Forest.
Apart from mountain ash, a flowering tree that belongs to a different species, all varieties of ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer. The destruction generally occurs over five years.
For stand-alone trees on private property, pesticides may be applied preventively and in the early stages of infestation. A licensed arborist should be consulted for treatment options.
For larger stands the primary preventative to slow the spread of the infestation is to quarantine trees already affected, to dispose of felled timber securely and to restrict the movement of firewood that might be infected with the larvae.
Native to Asia, the beetle is a metallic and iridescent green in color and a half-inch long. Larvae destroy the hardwood trees by feeding on the tissue between the bark and sapwood, disrupting the flow of nutrients and water. The emerging adults are winged, capable of flight and leave a distinctive D-shaped hole, about 1/8th inch in diameter.
Quoting from the Connecticut government report, Aaron McGoldrick, president of the Monroe conservancy, said the development is “disturbing and could have a devastating affect on the environment, despoiling
the beauty of neighborhoods and parks and weakening the wood products industry.”
Additional information is available at www.emeraldashborer.info.