A tiny pest with a big appetite for ash trees has arrived in Delaware and Otsego counties, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The agency said in a press release this week that a logger working in a private, Delaware County woodlot, just south of Unadilla, reported the suspected infestation to DEC officials, and that the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed presence of the destructive insect.
Follow-up surveys in the area by the workers from Cornell University and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets identified other infested trees north and west of Unadilla, DEC said.
The addition of Otsego and Delaware counties brings to 15 the number of counties with confirmed infestations of emerald ash borer. Most of the infested areas are small and localized, and more than 98 percent of New York’s forests and communities are not yet infested, DEC said.
A quarantine is in effect for all or part of 20 counties south of the New York Thruway. It prohibits any movement of live emerald ash borers, in any life stage, from sites where they are found. This includes infested ash logs from woodlots. Non-infested ash logs and products can be moved within the quarantine area, but cannot be moved out of the quarantine area.
DEC also has a firewood regulation that prohibits the movement of untreated firewood of any species more than 50 miles from its source. The agency said it is increasing its enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of such firewood into and around the state. According to DEC regulations, treated wood is wood that has been heated to a core temperature of 71 degrees Celsius, which is about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The agency is attempting to limit the spread of the ash borer by using a variety of approaches, such as removing infested trees, precisely establishing infestation boundaries and researching insecticides and organisms that kill the pests.