MONTPELIER, Vt. – Trees are greening and insects are awakening as spring continues its slow and steady progress. One such insect is the emerald ash borer. This destructive, invasive forest pest has been identified in numerous towns in Vermont and is expected to continue to move across the landscape, likely killing most ash trees in its path. To manage the pest and mitigate damage to ash trees and the multiple values they provide, Vermont adopted a “Slow the Spread” strategy in 2018, similar to our current effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, intended to buy time for development of control and mitigation measures.
June 1 through Sept. 30 is EAB’s flight season – the time when the adult beetles emerge from infested ash trees and ash wood products to seek out new host trees. Without due care, you may be unknowingly assisting them in their spread to uninfested trees.
Though it can only fly a mile or two each year, EAB has spread rapidly through forests and street trees alike in North America. The insect has often been moved unknowingly to uninfested areas in personal and commercial vehicles in ash firewood. While EAB may eventually kill the majority of ash trees, the good news is most of Vermont’s ash trees are not presently infested with EAB, and there is a lot we can do to slow the spread and give communities and forest landowners time to plan.
Here’s what you can do to help. Learn to identify EAB and report suspicious findings at www.VTInvasives.org. Leave firewood at home when you go camping and purchase firewood at or near your campsite instead. Know the source of your firewood and ask your supplier to confirm they have not moved untreated ash out of an infested area.
Information on ash and EAB identification, areas of infestation, recommendations for moving ash material, and managing ash can all be found at www.VTInvasives.org. Let’s get ready for flight season and do our part to slow the spread of EAB and protect the forests we love.