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New York fights back as invasive beetle kills trees

The emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America, including many trees in upstate New York. (US Department of Agriculture)

NEW YORK — New York state is expanding its fight against an invasive beetle.

The emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America, including many trees in upstate New York.

State environmental and agricultural officials this past week said they are expanding the state’s so-called restricted zone to step up their fight against the invasive pest.

“The expanded Restricted Zone for the destructive pest Emerald Ash Borer will help to slow the spread of this tree-killing beetle, protecting millions of ash trees in New York,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC will continue our efforts to slow the spread of this beetle and do what we can to help communities prepare for EAB.”

The beetle’s larvae can be moved long distances in firewood, logs, branches and nursery stock. So there are extra rules about the movement of these items in and out of the restricted zone. For instance, wood chips may not leave the restricted zone between April 15 and May 15.

The new restricted zone covers portions of more than three dozen counties north of New York City.

“It’s critical that we continue to track the Emerald Ash Borer and adjust our efforts to combat and slow the spread of this invasive beetle that damages and kills ash trees in both our forested and urban settings,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball. “By expanding the Restricted Zone, we can ensure that EAB and potentially infested ash wood does not leave the quarantine areas.”