New York environmental officials have confirmed the nonnative pest emerald ash borer at two locations in Jefferson County: in a street tree in Watertown and in the village of Clayton, on the St. Lawrence River.
The Asian beetle’s larvae feed on the layer just beneath the ash’s bark, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients to the crown and ultimately killing the tree. It has spread through much of upstate New York, and in 2017 was found in the northern parts of Franklin and St. Lawrence counties. The Jefferson County findings complete a belt around the northern, western and southern sides of the Adirondack Park. A spreading infestation could alter the composition of the Adirondack forest, though ash trees are less prevalent in the park’s core than in cities or at lower elevations.
The Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Lab confirmed the Jefferson County infestation sites, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
“All of New York’s native ash trees are susceptible to EAB,” DEC Region 6 Regional Director Randall Young said in a news release. “DEC Foresters work diligently to educate municipalities and the public about this invasive pest, holding workshops for landowners and other stakeholders to track the spread of this destructive beetle in Northern New York.”
State regulations intended to block the beetle’s spread prohibit moving firewood more than 50 miles. DEC recommends using infested trees on site or chipping them to less than an inch in at least two dimensions to prevent further transport.
Adult emerald ash borers are about a half-inch long with metallic green wing covers. Anyone who finds one can email a photo and location to email@example.com. Landowners seeking advice can contact the regional DEC Private Lands Staff.