The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, invasive beetle that is devastating to all ash tree species in MA. It is currently present in ten MA counties and continues to spread.
History of EAB in Massachusetts
The emerald ash borer was introduced to the United States in the late 1990’s and has steadily spread and expanded its range. The invasive pest was first detected in Massachusetts in 2012 in the town of Dalton. Since its initial find, the emerald ash borer has been detected in nine counties: Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester. The entire state of Massachusetts is currently part of the national quarantined zone, limiting the movement of all hardwood firewood, and green wood products, nursery stock, and any plant materials from any ash species in an effort to stop the spread of the beetle.
Currently, EAB can be found in 86 communities throughout the Commonwealth, as well as, all 5 other New England states.
Additional Resources for Current Detections
Slowing the Spread
EAB continues to spread across Massachusetts through human assisted movement. EAB can be moved in any ash product- ash fire wood, ash nursery stock, or any live ash cuttings. Everyone can do their part protecting our ash resources by avoiding moving ash materials. If you are working with ash trees, chip any materials or leave them on site. To minimize the risk of introduction, no firewood can be brought into DCR campgrounds; safe, treated firewood is available for purchase at each campground.
EAB Management Plan
The Forest Health Program has implemented a trapping program to continue emerald ash borer detections in the state. The trapping program allows state foresters to find new infestations, map the progression and spread of known populations, and determine sites suitable for biocontrol releases. Foresters use three methods of trapping: green funnel traps, sticky purple panel traps, and girdled trap trees. Purple panel traps and green funnel traps will be noticeable, hanging just below the tree canopy on the edge of an ash stand. If you see a trap while visiting public lands, please do not disturb it and if you notice any damage or tampering to a trap, report it to the forest health program.
The forest health program is working in partnership with the USDA-AHPIS and Forest Service to establish biocontrol species to help minimize the impact of the emerald ash borer and to protect our valuable ash trees. The goal of the biocontrol release project is to establish populations of host specific parasitic wasps from the emerald ash borer’s native range; these wasps will regulate emerald ash borer population growth. All biocontrol species are thoroughly researched prior to introduction into the ecosystem to avoid any negative impacts. Three biocontrol species have been released in Massachusetts, the larval parasitoids Tetrastichus planipennisi and Spathius galinae and the egg parasitoid Oobius agrili. The biocontrols appear to be a promising tool against the emerald ash borer.