(TRENTON, NJ) ― New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials confirmed on September 3 that the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, has been found in Burlington County. The beetle was found in a trap in Westampton that was part of an annual Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection survey to detect EAB.
An infestation of emerald ash borer was discovered by a private citizen in Bridgewater, Somerset County, in May, the state’s first sign of the destructive pest. The beetle also was found in Bernards Township. Emerald ash borer had already been detected in Pennsylvania and New York counties bordering New Jersey.
EAB is now present in 23 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has since killed tens of millions of trees.
The adult emerald ash borer is a metallic green insect about one-half inch long and one-eighth inch wide making it hard to detect in the wild. The female beetles lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. The eggs hatch and the larvae bore into the bark to the fluid-conducting vessels underneath. The larvae feed and develop, cutting off the flow of nutrients and, eventually killing the tree. EAB attacks and kills North American species of true ash, and tree death occurs three to five years following initial infestation. EAB is native to Asia.
The state will now survey trees in the area where EAB was found in Burlington County to determine the extent of the EAB infestation. It is expected that a federal quarantine will be expanded to include New Jersey.
Homeowners who own ash trees can take steps to protect their trees. Treatment products are available at local retail establishments and state-certified pesticide applicators can treat for EAB. Signs of EAB include: canopy dieback beginning at the top of the tree and progressing through the year until the tree is bare; sprouts growing from the roots and trunk; split bark with an S-shape gallery; D-shaped exit holes; and more woodpecker activity, creating large holes as they extract the larvae.
To prevent spread of the beetle, do not move firewood. Firewood is a vehicle for movement of tree-killing forest pests including EAB and Asian longhorned beetle. Use locally-sourced firewood when burning it at home and when travelling, burn firewood where you buy it. Make sure to burn all wood purchased.
Report signs of the beetle to the Department of Agriculture at 609-406-6939.
For more information about Emerald Ash Borer, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/community/Emerald_Ash_Borer.htm.