Saving Hemlocks from the Woolly Adelgid

The woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that kills native hemlock trees, has been plaguing the area around Cayuga Lake for years. In an effort to stop the woolly adelgid, the beetle Laricobius nigrinus is being used as a biocontrol method. Recently, Mark Whitmore, a member of the Cornell Department of Natural Resources and entomologist, released 800 of these beetles into the VanRiper Conservation Area in the hopes of reducing the woolly adelgid population there. Along with this biocontrol method, the Cornell Plantations are working with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to apply insecticides to the hemlocks until the introduced beetle population develops fully.

The full article can be read here through the Finger Lakes Land Trust website.

Mark Whitmore on CBS News Albany

Mark Whitmore announced that the invasive species, emerald ash borer (EAB), has been found in the Capital Region in the Albany area. EAB attacks ash trees and eventually kills the trees, causing them to fall and cause damage. Whitemore warns that people with ash trees on their property must make sure they keep a watch out for signs of EAB. He and other officials recommend that people treat their ash trees with pesticides to help prevent EAB from spreading.

Emerald Ash Borer Meeting with Marilyn Wyman and Mark Whitmore

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties Team Coordinator Marilyn Wyman held an on-site event on Wednesday to show participants how to identify Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and discuss the impacts and problems with infestation. Department of Natural Resources Forest Entomologist Mark Whitmore said you need to recognize the Ash tree before remediation can take place. He explained that something needs to happen fast because the region is at the bottom of what Whitmore called the “death curve.” The “death curve” is explained by EAB populations, as first seeing very little ash tree mortality and then a steep increase. Currently in Greene County, the mortality rate is low, but with evident signs of EAB presence.

Click here to read the full article!

Emerald Ash Borer Reaches Tioga County

In a news release from September 27th, the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the detection of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Tioga County. EAB is an invasive beetle that bores holes into the trunks and branches of ash trees, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients, ultimately leading to the death of the infected tree. New York now has 13 counties with detections and infestations. Mark Whitmore, a forest entomologist at Cornell, conducted an inspection in the area of Tioga County after EAB was detected and found no sign of infestation just yet. Whitmore explains, “Now is the time to plan and prepare for the economic impacts that homeowners, forest owners and communities will undoubtedly feel. Everyone should know if they have ash trees, what they plan to do once EAB arrives.”


Details of EAB and its detection are described in the news release. You can also check out the NY Invasive Species Clearing House at Cornell University,, to help you identify ash trees on your property. Visit for more information and resources on these topics.


Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Tioga County


EAB Found As Part of DEC’s 2012 Trapping Program

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Tioga County has been confirmed by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens confirmed today.   The EAB was found in a DEC-deployed trap two miles from the Pennsylvania border and six miles from the Chemung County border in the southwestern corner of Tioga County.  Chemung County and all of Pennsylvania are under state and Federal EAB quarantine.  A single adult EAB was found in one of the thousands of purple detection traps that are placed around the state this summer.

“With this year’s EAB detection trapping season rapidly coming to a close, we are working closely with our sister-agency, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and other stakeholders to examine the information derived from this year’s trapping to determine appropriate quarantine boundaries moving forward,” Commissioner Joe Martens said.

With the confirmation of EAB in Tioga County, New York now has 13 counties where EAB has been found.  Most of the infested areas are small and localized, while more than 98 percent of New York’s forests and communities are not yet infested.

Mark Whitmore, Forest Entomologist at Cornell University said, “Now is the time to plan and prepare for the economic impacts that homeowners, forest owners and communities will undoubtedly feel.  Everyone should know if they have ash trees, what they plan to do once EAB arrives.  This is especially true for municipal officials, where dead and dying ash trees on public property will expose local governments to significant damage, cost and liability.  Protective chemical treatment is possible for individual trees, however it is currently recommended to only treat trees that are within 10 miles of a known infestation.  Check the DEC website for maps of the infested areas.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, “At this time, we are working with DEC to consider a quarantine configuration that makes the most sense given the continued spread of EAB in New York.”

The trap that detected the EAB beetle was deployed by DEC as part of the agency’s continuing Slow Ash Mortality (SLAM) efforts, which include monitoring uninfested areas for early-detection of signs of EAB presence.  DEC’s early detection trapping efforts are supported by APHIS, which also contracts with a New York forestry consulting firm to deploy additional EAB traps in other counties outside the existing quarantines.

Over the past several years, the purple traps have been deployed by DEC and APHIS statewide during the summer months to help detect any new infestations of the insect.  Following the confirmation in Tioga County, Mark Whitmore did an initial inspection of the area and has not yet identified any trees with signs of infestation. DEC staff will expand survey efforts over the next several months to look for any ash trees that may be infested to determine if this pest has become established in the area.

DEC’s SLAM strategy, to slow the spread of EAB within the state and its devastating economic and environmental impacts, encompasses a variety of approaches, including removing infested trees, defining and monitoring infestation boundaries more precisely and researching insecticides and organisms that kill pests.

The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash.  Damage from EAB is caused by the larvae, which feed in tunnels just below the ash tree’s bark. The tunnels disrupt water and nutrient transport, causing branches and eventually the entire tree, to die. Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing and extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.

The first detection of EAB in New York was in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. Since then, infestations were later discovered in seven more counties in Western New York and five in the Hudson Valley. Twenty counties in New York are under state and Federal EAB quarantines. New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk from EAB.

Communities face particular risks, as ash is a common street and park tree; and green ash, in particular, has been widely planted as an ornamental tree in yards.  Efforts like DEC’s SLAM initiative can significantly delay the loss of ash trees and the subsequent costs for their removal and replacement.

In 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restrict intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source. This was implemented as a precaution against the introduction and spread of EAB and other invasive species because of the documented risk of transmission by moving firewood. After more than three years of outreach and education efforts about the risks of moving firewood and the state’s regulation, DEC is increasing its enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of untreated firewood into and around New York.  Because of the detection of EAB in Tioga County, DEC is asking for the public’s help in limiting spread of EAB by not moving ash logs, or firewood north or east out of Tioga County, to other counties not under EAB quarantine.

DEC urges residents to watch for signs of infestation in ash trees. To learn more about EAB and the firewood regulations, visit DEC’s website at Woodlot owners and municipalities can contact the nearest DEC Forestry Office, for technical assistance and forest management recommendations to prepare for the threat of EAB in their area.  Forest landowners can request a DEC Forester visit their woodlot and develop a free Forest Stewardship Plan.  This plan would address the landowner’s objectives and discuss how the arrival (or proximity) of the EAB could impact the owner’s forest resources.  Forest owners can schedule a site visit by contacting their local DEC Forestry office (for a listing of DEC Forestry offices, see:

To report signs of EAB, or ash trees showing symptoms of EAB attack, call DEC’s emerald ash borer hotline at 1-866-640-0652 or submit an EAB report on DEC’s website at:

DEC EAB Release

The Emerald Ash Borer- an Invasive Insect

Extension Associate Mark Whitmore studies the Emerald Ash Borer. The Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), commonly referred to as “EAB”, is an invasive wood-boring beetle. Native to Asia, the beetle’s first North American populations were confirmed in the summer of 2002 in southeast Michigan and in Windsor, Ontario. EAB was likely introduced to the area in the mid-1990’s in ash wood used for shipping pallets and packing materials in cargo ships or shipping containers. Emerald Ash Borers feed on and eventually kill all native ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). Slowing their spread is imperative.

Since its introduction into North America, EAB has spread into 15 states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin) and two Canadian provinces; Ontario and Quebec. EAB was first confirmed in New York in June 2009 near Randolph, in western Cattaraugus County.

The natural spread of EAB infestations in North America is about 2 miles per year, depending on the infestation intensity. However, the rapid spread of the beetle through North America is most likely due to the transport of infested firewood, ash nursery stock, unprocessed ash logs, and other ash products. In an effort to slow the continued spread of EAB, both Federal and State agencies have instituted quarantines of infested areas to regulate the transport of ash products.

Recent News Coverage Video on EAB

New York State Invasive Species Website Related to EAB