Woods goers asked to keep eyes peeled for signs of ash borer to protect forest health
December 3, 2013
DURHAM, N.H.--Northeast Forest health managers are asking hunters and other people taking walks in the woods this holiday weekend to stay alert for unique signs of the tree-killing emerald ash borer.
“A lot of people will go in the woods this holiday weekend to hunt and take walks,” said Colleen Teerling, a Maine Forest Service entomologist. “We’re asking them to keep their eyes open for any signs of emerald ash borer, in particular any woodpecker activity on ash trees.”
“While the leaves are off the trees, this is a great time to year to look for signs of EAB infestation left by woodpecker marks,” said New Hampshire Forest Health Manager Kyle Lombard.
Woodpeckers peck at the bark of trees, often stripping chunks off the darker outer layers to search for insects underneath. Noticeable “blonding” or yellowing of the bark can result as layers of lighter-colored bark underneath are revealed.
“This time of year, those fresh, cream-colored wood pecks really stand out against the darker outer bark of the tree,” said Nate Siegert, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist. “In heavily-infested ash trees, there will be a lot more bark removed and the signs will be more noticeable.”
Forest health managers in March detected an EAB infestation in Concord, N.H., when they looked for signs of wood pecker activity on ash trees in the vicinity.
Ash trees can be identified in two ways: their bark has a distinctive diamond-shaped pattern and is deeply furrowed; and their twigs branch opposite each other.
“What we’re looking for is severe woodpecker activity on ash that lacks any deep excavation,” said Lombard. People who see similar woodpecker activity on an ash tree should contact their state forest health manager.
EAB is native to Asia and is considered the most destructive invasive forest pest in North America. The beetle is responsible for killing millions of ash trees across 22 states and two Canadian provinces so far and currently threatens the entire North American ash family.
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