May 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Extension Forestry Specialist
UNH Cooperative Extension
Governor Hassan Declares May 18 – 24 Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week
Protect your high-value ash trees, develop a preparedness plan
CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has declared May 18-24 Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. The proclamation encourages all citizens, landowners and municipalities to learn more about emerald ash borer and what we can do as a community to prepare for the treatment or removal and replacement of ash trees. The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills North American species of true ash (Fraxinus spp.) within three to five years infestation. The insect was first detected in Concord in March 2013 and was recently found in Canterbury and Loudon.
New Hampshire municipalities and landowners can help slow the spread of emerald ash borer and mitigate emerald ash borer-associated costs by developing and implementing an emerald ash borer preparedness plan, regardless of their location in the state. A plan involves looking for ash trees and monitoring them for signs of emerald ash borer. Protection measures will vary depending on how valuable the trees are and where they are in relation to the infestation. Recommendations are available at www.nhbugs.org.
Officials are on the lookout for emerald ash borer in other parts of the state, but they need the help of all citizens. Signs that everyone can look for include blonding of the bark and lots of woodpecker activities on ash trees. Blonding occurs when woodpeckers forage for insects beneath the bark and chip away the top bark layer, creating a lighter color than the surrounding bark. This sign is most evident before leaves fully emerge, so now is the best time to look for it.
Landowners are also encouraged to think about the movement of firewood, especially with camping season starting soon. Buy firewood from a local distributor and burn it where you buy it. Most importantly, don’t move firewood from Merrimack County to other areas of the state.
Citizens can learn more about emerald ash borer and other invasive forest pests, and can report suspected insects or infested trees at www.nhbugs.org—the primary source for information on invasive forest insects in New Hampshire, featuring pictures of the telltale signs of emerald ash borer, including blonding.
Quarantines in effect
State officials are also reminding residents and visitors about two quarantines put in place after the invasive beetle was first detected in New Hampshire. A quarantine issued in April 2013 prohibits the transportation of ash nursery stock, ash wood products and all hardwood firewood from Merrimack County. Piera Siegert, state entomologist with the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food (DAMF) said, “The quarantine is aimed at limiting the human-assisted spread of the insect in a way that impacts as few stakeholders as possible.”
Also still in effect is the firewood quarantine intended to help prevent the arrival of more emerald ash borer or other damaging insects by prohibiting uncertified firewood from entering the state. Humans are responsible for the widespread movement of non-native insects, mostly through transporting firewood out of an area infested with an invasive pest.
This camping season, forest rangers with the Department of Resource and Economic Development’s (DRED) Division of Forests and Lands will conduct inspections at select locations, looking for out-of-state firewood and firewood from Merrimack County. State Forester Brad Simpkins says, “We want to remind our in-state and out-of-state campers we have a firewood quarantine. We inform campers using state campgrounds about quarantines prior to their arrival to ensure greater compliance with the quarantine.”
Emerald ash borer resources:
Governor Hassan’s proclamation
Report suspect trees and insects
Recommendations for homeowners and landowners
Ash product quarantine in Merrimack County
Out-of-state firewood quarantine
Emerald ash borer found in Canterbury (press release)
Forest insect photo gallery