State Officials Confirm Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Essex County

— From Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Blog

On December 9,the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) announced that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been detected and confirmed to be in North Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts. On August 31, 2012, EAB was detected in Berkshire County in the Town of Dalton. Since the insect does not travel far on its own, moving firewood or ash trees across the state is likely the cause of the new infestation. To date, 22 states across the country have confirmed detections of EAB.

Residents are urged to take the time to learn the signs of EAB damage and be sure to report any sightings.

  • Look for tiny, D-shaped exit holes in the bark of ash trees, dieback in the upper third of the tree canopy, and sprouting of branches just below this dead area.
  • In the winter months, look for signs of EAB infestation left by woodpecker activity on ash trees. Fresh, light-colored wood pecks stand out against the darker bark of the tree. Severe woodpecker activity at the base of the canopy or on the main stems may indicate possible EAB infestation and should be reported to state forest health personnel immediately.
  • The Emerald Ash Borer is an emerald-green metallic beetle, so small that seven of them could fit on the head of a penny. Don’t worry about look-alikes – if you think you see signs of EAB, report it!

DCR and APHIS will be scheduling listening sessions in Essex County in January to provide the community with information relative to the finding and address questions. Click here to report suspicious tree damage or insect sightings, or to learn more about this pest. You can also call the toll free EAB hotline at 1-866-322-4512.

USDA Releasing Stingless Wasps To Combat Emerald Ash Borer

Stingless wasps are a natural enemy of the EAB. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with the Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to raise and harvest these stingless wasps for monitored releases in selected EAB infested locations. Specifically, they are using three parasitoid species of wasps from China called Spathius agrili, Tetrastichus planipennisi and Oobius agrili.

The wasps target EAB eggs and larvae and use them as hosts to support their own species. The wasps’ offspring consume the EAB egg and larvae as they grow and develop. This year, wasps were released in 17 states: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Additional parasitoid releases are expected in EAB-infested States when appropriate climate/release conditions are met. Read more here.

Changes to the Land: Four Scenarios for the Future of the Massachusetts Landscape

A study by Harvard University’s Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent trends in the loss of forests to development will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape’s ability to protect against climate change.

Read more about the study here.

FUSF 2012 Annual Report

It was another good year for Friends of Upton State Forest in our efforts
to preserve, enhance and protect the natural and historic resources of Upton
State Forest in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
We look forward to continuing our valuable partnership with the DCR, and
others and appreciate all that our members have done.

Click here to view the FUSF 2012 Annual Report.

Whitney Conservation Area Fundraiser

The Whitney Conservation Area fundraiser has been a success! Nealy $16,000 has been raised by the Metacomet Land Trust, including a $200 donation from the FUSF. The funds will be used to construct a fence along the Sweetwiliam Farm Pasture and a parking area. Most of the fencing has been installed and the parking lot will be constructed in August.