State officials from the Department of Conservation and Recreation have confirmed the discovery of emerald ash borer in the city of Worcester, MA. Emerald ash borer is a small wood-boring beetle native to eastern Asia. It feeds on ash trees and white fringe tree, and is considered an invasive pest that is capable of decimating large tree populations. Since its discovery in North America in June 2002, emerald ash borer has spread throughout twenty five states, as well as sections of Canada, causing billions of dollars in damage, and devastating tens of millions of ash trees.
Emerald ash borer can kill trees within three to five years of infestation. The beetle bores directly under the bark, penetrating into the inner cambial layer to feast on woody tissue. This causes a disruption in the tree’s conductive system, impeding its ability to transport water and nutrients.
Four trees were found to be infested in late November by surveying crews from the Department of Conversation and Recreation. They were inspecting trees for another invasive pest, the Asian longhorned beetle. Local and state officials will continue to monitor this latest discovery in an effort to manage the insect’s presence, and prevent it from causing any further damage to trees.
A statewide quarantine on emerald ash borer was put into effect in November 2014. To prevent the inadvertent spread of emerald ash borer and other invasive pests, avoid moving untreated firewood or any other woody materials long distances. Trees can also be inspected by a professional arborist to determine if they are displaying symptoms of emerald ash borer.