MONTAGUE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of Montague is taking action to kick an invasive pest out of town after it cost them a few Ash trees in Turners Falls.
The town of Montague has contracted a company from California that has a track record at expelling these pests and likely saved dozens of ash trees along their Iconic Avenue A with the work they did Friday morning. The invasive beetles, called Emerald Ash Borer, are native to Asia but have made their way into Ash trees in Turner’s Falls.
The two most common species of Ash trees in Massachusetts are Green Ash and White Ash. On Friday, 27 trees were treated with a compound contained in small pods. In just about an hour, the liquid is absorbed by the tree and carried up into the branches, forcing the beetles to exit the trunk and killing their larva left behind.
“We’re drilling a small hole and taking advantage of the Xylem transport which is what the tree uses to bring water from the roots to the shoots. The tree will take up the Imidacloprid and it will have an effect on where the beetles are making their galleries,” said Dr. Rafael Andy Vega, member of the Montague Tree Advisory Committee.
It’s a short, inexpensive process compared to removing a tree that has totally fallen victim like they had to do in another part of town. The town had to remove a few trees in a nearby park that were not savable, that cost about $4,000 per tree.
“These are a little bit smaller than the average trees we are looking at. Probably around $70 to $100 to save a tree. It would completely change the landscape if we didn’t have them here so in some ways its invaluable,” said Vega.
After Friday’s treatment, they will check back in for another evaluation of the trees in about three months with regular check-ins after that over the next year and a half or so.
What are Emerald Ash Borers?
The Emerald Ash Borer is a jewel beetle native to northeastern Asia and feed on Ash species. The females lay their eggs in bark crevices and the larvae will feed under the bark and emerge as adults one to two years later.
Scientists believe the beetles arrived in the United States hidden in wood packaging material. The first beetle was discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002. In Massachusetts, the beetle has been found in eleven counties: Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester.
How to prevent the spread
Ash trees that are cut down into firewood should not be moved to another location. If the tree was infected, the beetle can easily spread this way into a new territory.
Inspect your trees for infestation. If you believe you have an infestation, you can report it to the state agriculture agency.