The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“DEEP”) and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (“CAES”) announced the discovery of the emerald ash borer beetle for the first time in Connecticut. The presence of the emerald ash borer was first discovered and confirmed at CAES testing stations in both Naugatuck and Prospect. The beetle represents no threat to humans, pets or other animal life, but is considered extremely harmful to ash trees.
The CAES issued a press release today (7/20/2012), followed by a press conference at Prospect Town Hall. Naugatuck Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi and Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield joined state and federal officials at the press conference early Friday (7/20/2012) afternoon.
The emerald ash borer beetle infests ash trees under the bark of the tree. The infestation occurs when the beetles lay eggs within the tree, and the larvae attack the integrity of the tree itself. An infestation ultimately kills the tree, usually within one (1) to three (3) seasons depending on the level of intrusion.
Residents with ash trees on their property should be diligent to inspect the tree for signs of infestation. The CAES website has significant information on the subject on their website. Residents who suspect the presence of the emerald ash borer on their property may request purple detection boxes by contacting the main CAES phone number at 203-974-8500.
A natural predator of the emerald ash borer beetle is the wasp named the smokey winged beetle bandit (cerceris fumipennis). The wasp is attracted to locations that have a significant presence of emerald ash borer beetles, particularly sandy areas located at various ball fields (clay infields and mounds). The wasp does not sting humans, and is generally considered helpful with regard to controlling the infestation of emerald ash borer beetles.
Residents who purchase and/or use wood for various purposes are urged to do so locally. The quickest way for the infestation to spread is through the movement of wood from an infested location to another. State and federal officials will take appropriate measures to prevent the expansion of the infestation. The only way to properly dispose of an infested tree is to cut it down, chip and grind the stump. Wood chips from an infested ash tree should not be transported to other locations.
Additional information about the emerald ash borer beetle can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture site. Borough officials will continue to monitor this situation and work with state and federal authorities to limit the damage to ash trees throughout Naugatuck and beyond.