BUFFALO, NY - A small, but destructive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees has been detected in the City of Buffalo.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been found in South Park. This is the first detection of the pest in Erie County.
Regional Director Abby Snyder tells us these invasive insects first discovered in Michigan back in 2002 get a lot of human help getting around.
"The primary way this insect spreads is through the movement of fire wood, and wood products from one place to another, and its usually a far distance," said Snyder.
The DEC, Cornell University, the city and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy started working together to address the South Park infestation immediately after it was discovered last week. An initial survey shows that less than a dozen trees, located along the park's perimeter in a natural wooded area, are affected. Work is underway to determine if the problem has spread beyond that area.
Cornell University Entomologist Mark Whitmore explains why these bugs are starting to invade Western New York.
"The only thing that makes this particular area attractive to the bugs is the fact that there are ash trees here. The emerald ash borer only eats ash trees. Not mountain ash, just green ash and white ash," said Whitmore.
Earlier this week, forestry staff placed a trap to attract and limit the spread of the insect. Also, park staff have started cutting and chipping infested trees.
"The discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer in Buffalo is extremely unfortunate, but not surprising," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Despite multi-state efforts to curtail its expansion, EAB has spread across the northeastern United States over the past decade."
The EAB was first detected in New York in Cattaraugus County in 2009. Since that time, infestations have been confirmed in six other counties including Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, Green and Ulster counties.
The public can help to keep the Emerald Ash Borer from spreading by doing the following:
- Leave all firewood at home. Do not bring it to camp grounds or parks. Moving firewood is one of the primary ways for spreading the insect.
- Get your firewood at the campground or from a local supplier. Ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.
- Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. if you suspect the tree has been damaged, call the state at 1-866-640-0652.