| BOSTON, Sept 12
BOSTON, Sept 12 The emerald ash borer, an
invasive beetle that has destroyed millions of trees in North
America since being accidentally introduced from Asia, has been
identified in Massachusetts for the first time, state officials
said on Wednesday.
The beetle, named for its bright green color, was found in
Dalton, a town in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts authorities said they are working with the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to limit the pests' impact on the
state's trees and its wood product industry.
"The emerald ash borer brings a very serious threat to our
ash trees, and we are not taking its presence lightly," said Ed
Lambert, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of
Conservation and Recreation.
The tiny flying beetles are about a half-inch (1.3 cm) long.
They kill quickly - within a few years - when the beetles'
larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the
trees' ability to take in water and nutrients.
The borers are thought to have been introduced to North
America in the 1990s, probably in wood packaging material from
eastern Asia, and were first discovered in Michigan and in
Ontario in 2002.
They have destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in the
United States and Canada since then.
Massachusetts is the 18th U.S. state to confirm sightings of
Steps being taken by the state include defining a quarantine
area to limit the movement of certain wood products, and working
with stakeholders to ensure the proper treatment or disposal of
infested trees and materials.
Many infestations have started when people moved infested
trees, including firewood, into uninfested areas.
Ash is a main component of the Northern Hardwood forest in
Massachusetts and a common street tree in the Boston area.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
recently granted Massachusetts $1 million to plant trees in
areas that are fighting an infestation of the Asian longhorned
beetle, another invasive insect that attacks and kills a variety
of tree species.
(Reporting By Ros Krasny)