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For Release: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

State Takes Action To Prevent The Spread Of Emerald Ash Borer On Firewood In Ulster County

State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture & Markets Destroy Infested Firewood and Ash Logs at Firewood Producer/Dealer

Public Reminded to Be Aware of EAB Quarantine and Follow Firewood Restrictions

In response to a citizen's tip, the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) confiscated and destroyed infested firewood and ash logs from a facility in Ulster County to prevent further spread of emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive species that kills trees.

A firewood producer and dealer offered ash firewood infested with living EAB for sale to the public on Route 28 in the Town of Olive. If the infected materials were sold or transported off-site, it could have led to the further spread of this invasive species in the region.

"The emerald ash borer is a destructive invasive species that poses a significant threat to our forests, and we urge people to follow our regulations when handling firewood to prevent the spread of this harmful insect," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Through education and early detection of new EAB infestation, we can reduce the environmental and economic damage caused by this invasive species. People need to be aware of the dangers and be vigilant in their efforts to avoid transporting EAB."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The fight against invasive species is one that is waged every day, and there is a great need to engage all New Yorkers in the fight against these pests. This detection was made by a citizen who was aware that the transportation of firewood has the potential to further the spread of EAB. Working with our partners at DEC, we have successfully prevented infested firewood from being sold in Ulster County, which could have potentially spread the emerald ash borer into uninfested areas."

In Ulster County, forest health and enforcement staff from both DEC and DAM determined the infested ash firewood posed a significant risk of spreading EAB to non-infested areas, and the material had to be destroyed. Staff used a chipper on approximately14 full cords of infested, cut and split ash firewood to destroy EAB in the material and prevent the emergence of adult beetles. An additional 64 infested ash logs, intended to be processed into firewood, were also destroyed at the site.

EAB is an Asian beetle that infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.), including green, white, black and blue ash. All native ash trees are susceptible and most trees die within two to four years of becoming infested. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the destruction of over 50 million ash trees in the U.S. since its discovery in southeastern Michigan in 2002.

A significant area of New York State is under an EAB quarantine, including all of Ulster County. State and federal EAB quarantine regulations prohibit any movement of live EAB from a site where it is found, including movement of firewood or logs infested with EAB eggs, larvae, pupae or adults. New Yorkers and visitors are reminded to use only local firewood or heat-treated firewood that meets DEC's firewood treatment standards. For more information on the import of movement of firewood, visit the DEC website.

Adult emerald ash borers (Agrilus planipennis) leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of tree branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inches long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They may be present from late May through early September, but are most common in June and July. Signs of infection include tree canopy dieback, yellowing and browning of leaves.

Additional information, including how to identify the emerald ash borer, is available on DEC's website. If an individual thinks EAB is present in firewood or local trees, call the DEC EAB and Firewood hotline at 1-866-640-0652.

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