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Steps to take against invasive beetle

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The emerald ash borer (EAB), an exotic beetle from East Asia, presents a serious threat to native ash populations. The health of our local forests and state economy are at risk if greater strides toward EAB containment are not taken here in New York.

Since the discovery of the EAB in Michigan a decade ago (2002), this beetle has spread across 15 state boundaries and is already responsible for the death of millions of ash trees. By June of 2009 the EAB had traveled from Michigan, and into Western New York. It is estimated that there are 7 billion ash trees in the United States; 900 million of them are found in New York state, accounting for about 7 percent of all state trees.

Here is the good news — the EAB was discovered in the early days of invasion in New York. As of right now, less than 1 percent of our forests are infested and of the 20 counties under quarantine, only eight are actually harboring EAB. Now is the time to take action!

On its own, the emerald ash borer will only disperse an average of two miles per year. The accidental, human-facilitated transport of this invasive species is causing the EAB population to spread across the United States at faster rates.

To do your part in the fight against the EAB, here are some simple steps you can take:

n Buy local, burn local — buy firewood where you plan to use it, don’t accidentally start a new infestation by giving the EAB a free ride.

n Cooperate with agricultural quarantine restrictions and authorized workers seeking access to your property for EAB-detection surveys.

n Know the signs — learn the telltale signs of an EAB-infested ash tree.

n Report it — contact your state agricultural agency if you think you’ve found any sign of the EAB.

n Spread the word, not the pest — talk with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about EAB; let them know how they can help be part of the solution!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently launched a new, multistate, public education initiative to promote awareness of invasive species. To learn more about EAB, or to report a sighting, please visit hungrypests.com

Shelby Southworth

Canton

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