Since its discovery in 2009, the Emerald Ash Border, an invasive wood-bring beetle, continues to threaten the health of all types of ash trees in New York State. Five counties in Western New York and two in the Hudson Valley currently have infestations according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Part of an ongoing CCE outreach and education effort includes “First Detector” workshops which are being conducted throughout the state. Residents, Master Gardeners, Forest Owners and Naturalists, as well as tree care and land management professionals in county and municipal governments are being taught to recognize the early signs of emerald ash borer infestation.
Cornell University's Mark Whitmore is a forest entomologist who trains people to accurately identify and report EAB. The sessions cover the biology of the insect and the signs and symptoms of ash tree infestation. EAB monitoring includes conducting street tree inventories, collecting ash seed and helping to educate communities about the issues.
“The economic impacts are going to be immense in communities, where the potential for dead trees to fall down creates public health hazards,” Whitmore said.
Whitmore said trainees are encouraged to mobilize their communities. Several established task forces around the state have been mapping trees, recruiting volunteers and speaking at public meetings about managing this destructive beetle.
As part of EAB Awareness Week last month, Cornell Cooperative Extension and DEC staff along with volunteers, posted signs and tied ribbons around 3,000 ash trees in public spaces around the state. The signs are to illustrate that those trees, and all of New York State's 900 million ash trees, could be victims of the emerald ash borer.
Whitmore said the current strategy is to slow the spread of the pest
, in order to buy some time to work on a solution. The DEC’s restriction on the movement of firewood
, ash trees and products, remains in effect.
The First Detector workshop series is is a component of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Statewide Invasive Species Education Program (CCE ISP). CCE ISP was created in late 2010 to help protect New York State's natural resources, economy, human and animal health from the negative impacts of invasive species like the Emerald Ash Borer.
The program's mission is to provide stakeholders with high quality science-based educational programs and cutting edge research-based information about invasive species of major concern to the State of New York. The CCE ISP works closely with the CCE County Associations to support them in their invasive species outreach and education activities.
For information about the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive species, visit the New York Invasive Species website