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Emerald Ash Borer Makes First Appearance In State

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Emerald Ash Borer (courtesy Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection)

Emerald Ash Borer (courtesy Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection)

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The invasive species known as the “emerald ash borer” has made its way to Connecticut.

Signs of the beetle were found in Prospect in wasps which feed on the beetle.  Experts say it is likely to be in Naugatuck as well,  and they’re awaiting confirmation.  It can travel as much as two miles in a day.

The beetle is known as the “emerald” ash borer because of its metallic green color.  The adult beetles,  which are about half an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide, emerge from the bark of infested trees,  leaving a D-shaped hole about an eighth of an inch in diameter.   Experts say it has killed tens of millions of ash trees from the Midwest to New York and south to Tennessee.  Connecticut now becomes the sixteenth state where infestations of the beetle have been found.

As much as 15  per cent of state forest is made up of ash trees.  Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Director Lou Magnarelli says  if ash trees are eliminated from a forest, the forest’s diversity is reduced, and the remaining forest becomes more vulnerable to other problems.

Commissioner Dan Esty of the Department Energy and Environmental Protection called it a disturbing discovery with the potential for great environmental harm.

DEEP said it is taking steps to try to prevent spread of the beetle —  including suspension of all timber contracts and firewood permits for state forest land in New Haven County,  a quarantine zone prohibiting certain wood products from being moved out of New Haven County,  deployment of more traps to detect the emerald ash borer around Prospect,  and a ban on importation of firewood into Connecticut through New York or Massachusetts (unless it is properly certified or has not come from an area where the beetle has not been identified.)  In addition, surveys determining where the beetle is present,  how extensive the infestation,  and how long it has been here will be conducted.

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