Emerald ash borer confirmed in Adirondacks for first time

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The first confirmed case in the Adirondack Park of the emerald ash borer, an insect that infests and kills ash trees, which make up about 7 percent of trees in New York, has been reported in Warren County, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said today.

The affected trees were identified by state Department of Transportation Personnel at the Warren County canoe launch on the Schroon River in the town of Chester, the DEC said. A sample was sent to the Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Lab for further review.

While ash comprise a smaller share of the trees in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, the species is common in urban and suburban areas as a street, park and ornamental tree, according to the DEC. The agency has tried for years to slow the spread of the insect through measures such as restrictions against moving untreated firewood and timber, but the find was not unexpected, as the insect has been found in nearly all counties in the state.

Emerald ash borer larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree often within a few years. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive eighth-inch, D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly a half inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. The insects are most common in June and July.

Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves.

Occurrences of any invasive species can be reported to the DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostic Laboratory by emailing photographs to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. New invasive species sightings can also be reported directly to New York’s invasive species database through the iMapInvasives mobile app.

The DEC recommends that wood from ash trees that have been infested and/or killed by EAB be left or utilized on site or chipped to less than one inch in at least two dimensions to prevent further spread.

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