'Burn Local:' Officials Concerned About Emerald Ash Borer

Apr 10, 2013

Earlier this week officials in New Hampshire said they had found an infestation of emerald ash borer in the Concord area.

Now Vermont officials are reminding the public that the best way to prevent the spread of the insect is to burn local firewood.

The emerald ash borer is an invasive pest from China first detected in this country in 2002. Since then it has been discovered in 19 states, including New York and Massachusetts and the province of Quebec.

Infested areas are subject to state and federal quarantines. The quarantine also regulates movement of ash nursery stock and other ash wood products that could spread the ash borer.

In Vermont, an extensive monitoring system of purple sticky traps has been put in place, along with a rapid response plan to deal with an infestation if it is found.

Foresters were surprised to discover the emerald ash borer in Concord because there were no similar infestations nearby. Jim Esden is a Vermont forester.

"And that highlights the fact that this insect is difficult to detect and spreads quite quickly by movement of infested materials," Esden says.

Ash borer larvae create tunnels under the bark of trees and eventually kill them.

Esden says the public has been enlisted to help track whether the insect has spread to Vermont.

"We would encourage people to be aware as they look up and look out for emerald ash borer."

One of the key signs of an infestation is dead branches high up in trees.

The state will also continue to urge people not to haul wood into Vermont from regions where there are already infestations. That's one of the primary causes of the insects' spread.