The emerald ash borer infestation that threatens to kill all ash trees has expanded into Shelton.
Shelton is one of about two dozen towns and cities where the problem insects have been detected this year, with a total of 38 towns now reporting issues with the emerald ash borer, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).
The infestation had been centered in New Haven County in Connecticut, but continues to spread and additional detections are anticipated.
Has killed many millions of trees
The emerald ash borer is a destructive insect that has been responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees from Colorado and the Midwest to New England and the South. Ash makes up from 4% to 15% of Connecticut’s forests and represents about 2% to 3% of the urban trees in many communities.
“Unfortunately,” said State Entomologist Kirby C. Stafford III, “we are now seeing a lot of dead and dying ash in New Haven County and more ash trees will die as a result of this expanding infestation.”
Shelton is in Fairfield County, but New Haven County is just across the Housatonic River and includes such towns as Derby and Milford.
‘A severe and imminent threat’
Rob Klee, state energy and environmental protection commissioner, said property owners should check their ash trees for damage.
“The spread of emerald ash borer within our state poses a severe and imminent threat to ash trees on both private and public property,” Klee said.
“It is critical for property owners to assess the condition of their ash trees and make decisions to treat trees with appropriate chemicals to try to save them or to remove trees that pose safety risks,” Klee said. “We also strongly encourage property owners to utilize only licensed and insured professionals to either treat or remove their ash trees.”
Insecticides can help in some cases
When emerald ash borer is found, municipalities and homeowners can assess their ash trees and plan for the impact of this beetle. High value trees and lightly infested trees can be treated with systemic insecticides to protect them against the emerald ash borer.
Untreated ash trees will be lost and can die within two to three years once infested. Ash trees quickly decline and become hazardous, requiring removal, depending upon their location and risk to people and property.
Quarantines on ash materials, on firewood
In Connecticut, a quarantine had previously been established that regulates the movement of ash logs, ash materials, ash nursery stock, and hardwood firewood from within Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties to any area outside of those counties to help slow the spread of the beetle.
The quarantine currently applies to only those four counties and mirrors a federal quarantine also imposed on the four counties.
CAES plans to add Middlesex, New London, Tolland and Windham counties to the existing EAB quarantine, making it statewide, after holding a required public hearing.
Regulations also are in effect regulating the movement of firewood from out-of-state into Connecticut or within Connecticut. These regulations were put in place to ensure that other invasive insects, not just the emerald ash borer, are not carried into Connecticut through the shipment of firewood.
Where the insect has been found
These are the towns where emerald ash borer was found in 2014:
— New Haven
— North Haven
— Rocky Hill
— West Haven
These are the towns where the insects were previously found:
— Beacon Falls
— North Branford
To learn more
Detailed information about the current quarantine and the firewood regulations can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/eab or www.ct.gov/caes
For more information about the emerald ash borer, go to www.emeraldashborer.info
A fact sheet providing guidelines on the treatment of ash trees to protect them from EAB is available at www.ct.gov/caes