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Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Spreads To Hampshire County

The emerald ash borer.
David Cappaert bugwood.org
/
Creative Commons
The emerald ash borer.

The destructive emerald ash borer is moving deeper into New England's tree population. An infestation was just found in Hampshire County in western Massachusetts.

Ken Gooch from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said they found the golden green beetle with emerald wings feeding, as it does, under the bark of several trees.

"We went along and peeled some ash trees and we found it in two locations," Gooch said. "One in South Hadley, the other in Acadia Audubon Sanctuary, up there in Easthampton [and] Northampton."

Last year, the beetle was found in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. It's traveling up the Connecticut River Valley, Gooch said, so a new location is not a surprise. But he said the progression is faster than expected.

Emerald ash borer can kill a tree in about three years, Gooch said, and temperature is not a factor.

"It's almost hidden," Gooch said. "You don't really know it's there until it's almost too late."

A tree's best best defense is with "biological control," Gooch said. That's when other insects are released to eat the the borer.

Emerald Ash Borer is now in 25 states, including New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire. It's not yet in Vermont, Gooch said, but officials there are on alert as the state has a large population of ash trees.

Jill has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing The Connection with Christopher Lydon, Morning Edition, reporting and hosting. In the months leading up to the 2000 presidential primary in New Hampshire, Jill hosted NHPR’s daily talk show The Exchange. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRX's The World.
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