A pest that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America has been detected in Vermont. The USDA has confirmed an emerald ash borer was recently found in northern Orange County.
State officials say the invasive insect, which is native to Asia, was found in the town of Orange Feb. 20. They say the beetle was reported through the vtinvasives.org website. Forest health officials plan to do a survey to determine the extent of the infestation.
The insects infect ash trees and can kill a tree in 3-5 years. The beetle is known to be established in 32 states and three Canadian provinces and is responsible for the widespread decline of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America. Ash trees make up 5 percent of Vermont forests. So this could impact Vermont’s bottom line.
“Vermont is known for its fall foliage and ash trees add a lot of the color during the fall so that’s a little bit more intangible and hard to qualify. If we have a lot of dead trees, that, unfortunately, is going to have a negative impact,” said Emilie Inoue, the state’s pest survey coordinator.