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2017 Emerald Ash Borer Expansion

In 2017 we saw more emerald ash borer (EAB) detections in Massachusetts than any previous year on record. Nine new municipalities, including a new record for Norfolk County, were added to the list of infested areas. The communities in which EAB was detected included:

• Berkshire Country- West Stockbridge
• Hampshire County- Easthampton, Northampton, and South Hadley
• Middlesex County- Shirley and Waltham
• Norfolk County – Brookline, Dedham
• Essex County- Georgetown

There are now a total of 26 municipalities in 8 counties where EAB has been found.

These detections were discovered using a combination of methods, including active surveillance, trapping, and reports from the public made to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ EAB Reporting Form. In Brookline, a number of beetles were caught mid-summer using pheromone traps.

While Brookline marked the first community in Norfolk County to be confirmed to have EAB, it was quickly followed by the town of Dedham, where a member of the town’s Conservation Commission reported a potentially infested ash tree near the Wigwam Pond area. MDAR forwarded the report to the DCR Forest Health Program, who confirmed through inspection that a number of trees showed signs of EAB damage. Like Dedham, a report to MDAR from a concerned resident in the town of Shirley led officials to inspect a suspected EAB site which was also later confirmed to be positive.The infestations in Waltham and Georgetown were discovered by MDAR’s biosurveillance program, Mass. Wasp Watchers.

Monitoring done by DCR’s Forest Health Program also led authorities to the Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Conservation Area, owned by the town of South Hadley, and the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Northampton and Easthampton. Inspections of natural ash stands in the area were conducted in conjunction with representatives of The Nature Conservancy and Mass Audubon. It is suspected that the infestations found there have been present for at least two to three years.

As EAB continues its spread, towns and cities adjacent to known infestations are being encouraged to check their own ash trees for signs of damage. MDAR is also fostering the development of EAB Community Action teams in these high priority areas. Teams receive educational materials to spread awareness, as well in field training to better identify and report any suspected EAB infestations.Communities are also urged to create EAB Management Plans to better mitigate the potential impacts to their ash trees.

If you suspect you have seen EAB in an area not indicated on the list above, get a photo of the damage if you can, and report it here.

Emerald ash borer specimens caught in Georgetown by MDAR staff while Wasp Watching in Essex County.

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