State will quarantine Steuben firewood
FINGER LAKES—Now that the Emerald Ash Borer is in Steuben County, the state’s next step will be to quarantine firewood from leaving the county.
The state has already tried to slow the spread of this invasive species by limiting the distance firewood can be transported, to 50 miles. However, the EAB was still found and identified in Steuben County, July 27. Prior to that, the insect was first found in New York in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, June 2009.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Web site explains these harmful insects can travel within firewood, and end up spreading faster than they would naturally. However, with the borer in Bath, 50 miles easily covers the distance north to Penn Yan or east to Watkins Glen.
John Gibbs, DEC regional forester in Bath, said a quarantine will be put on Steuben County for firewood. He added he wasn’t sure when that would happen though, but a quarantine is procedure. The state is taking such measure because, as according to the DEC and Cornell Cooperative Extension, the borer will kill all ash trees.
“We know we can’t eradicate it,” said Gibbs.
He explained that if he were a business within the 50 miles of Bath and got firewood from that area, he would not want to risk spreading the borer. Gibbs said, especially if he had ash trees that could be affected.
The EAB has no current native enemy in the U.S. (the borer is an Asian beetle). Gibbs said the state is working on one option: possibly bringing over a species from China that would act as a counter to the borer. However, he said the permit process to do that is lengthy, and it is not a definite answer.
Meanwhile, the DEC and CCE are trying to monitor the spread of this insect. Gibbs said purple traps are being set up that will show if the borer is in an area. He added people need to be vigilant and firstly, know if they have any ash trees on their property.
The borer itself, in its adult phase is green and around half an inch long. People should look for the adult version of the EAB from June to August. Meanwhile, the larva (which is white and about an inch long) can be spotted year round. The EAB leaves exit holes where it bores into the tree.
For more on the EAB, visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html.