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New Jersey officials warn against treestands in or near ash trees

NEW JERSEYNJ Division of Fish and Wildlife officials caution hunters to avoid placing treestands in or near ash trees.

Ash trees can be damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, and damage is not always visible even though the tree’s structural integrity may be compromised, officials said.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a non-native insect pest that infests and kills all species of ash trees in North America.

Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in New Jersey in May 2014 in Somerset County.  Infestations throughout the U.S. and Canada have killed tens of millions of ash trees since 2002.

Through December 9, 2019, Emerald Ash Borer has been found in New Jersey in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties.

The adult EAB is approximately 1/2” long and 1/8” wide, metallic green in color, with a metallic copper red abdomen. The larvae are white or cream colored, measure approximately 1 to 1 ¼” long and have 10 abdominal segments that are bell shaped. The EAB has a 1-year lifecycle, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

EAB first infest the top of the tree’s crown, which makes spotting adult beetles or exit holes nearly impossible from the ground. Woodpecker activity and damage on live trees is often an initial symptom of an EAB infestation. As EAB populations increase, crown dieback, epicormic branching, bark splits, and exit holes lower on the bole become more prevalent. Trees will only live an average of 3-4 years after infestation and 99% of ash trees will die.

Officials said that approximately 9% of the state’s total forested area, or 24.7 million ash trees, are susceptible to an EAB infestation. Most of the ash is concentrated in the north-western part of the state.

In addition, ash has been commonly planted as street trees and on private properties in many cities and towns. Trees infested with EAB on public and private lands in urban areas will pose the greatest danger where falling branches have the potential to hit people, structures, or cars.

“Evaluate any tree carefully but note that ash trees may die quickly, concealing their risky status,” officials said.

Report signs of the beetle to the Department of Agriculture at 609-406-6939.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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