After flirting with Oxford by planting itself right on the town's boundries for several months, a beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees nationwide has made its way into this town.
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, CAES, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, announced that the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has been detected in Oxford, as well as Cheshire and Middlebury. The beetle was first discovered in Connecticut towns of Prospect and Naugatuck (near the Oxford line) in July, and since then, officials have taken some extreme measures to stop its spread. So far, the insect has been kept in New Haven COunty.
In a news release, the DEEP states the identification has been confirmed by federal regulatory officials in the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA APHIS-PPQ). The beetle has killed acres of trees from the mid-west to New York State and south to Tennessee. Ash makes up about 4 percent to 15 percent of Connecticut’s forests and is a common urban tree, the DEEP states.
From the DEEP news release:
The insects discovered in Cheshire, Oxford, and Middlebury were located as part of a “delimiting” survey being conducted by the CAES and DEEP to help determine the area in which EAB is present and the extent of the infestation. Since July, the emerald ash borer has been detected in Prospect, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Waterbury and Bethany. EAB has also been identified in Dutchess County, New York and most recently, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
In Connecticut, a quarantine has previously been established that regulates the movement of ash logs, ash materials, ash nursery stock, and hardwood firewood from within New Haven County to any area outside of that county. The quarantine currently applies to only that part of the state and mirrors a federal quarantine also imposed on New Haven County.
In addition to the quarantine, regulations 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 EAB and other invasive insects are not carried into Connecticut, or spread throughout New England, through the shipment of firewood.
The emerald ash borer is a regulated plant pest under federal (7 CFR 301.53) and state (CT Gen. Statute Sec. 22-84-5d, e, and f) regulations. For more information about the EAB, please visit the following website: www.emeraldashborer.info.