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      Invasive Ash Borer found in Onondaga County

      Emerald Ash Borer / File photo

      The State Department of Environmental Conservation is in Onondaga County looking for further signs the Emerald Ash Borer has spread into our area.

      An invasive beetle was found Monday in a purple prism trap in DeWitt.

      The DEC and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension are trying to figure out the extent of the infestation.

      The Emerald Ash Borer is a small, green beetle but it triggers big problems. The pest eats ash trees and by time it's noticed, there is no way to save the trees. That's because infected trees often don't show any signs of trouble until they are dead inside, and fall down.

      Ash trees, which line many streets and are in forests around Central New York, make up about 13% of the trees in Onondaga County. The potential destruction of the ash trees in turn will impact the state's forest industry which employs 60,000 people.

      If you have an ash tree on your property, Jesse Lyons, with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County, says you have a big decision to make.

      "They're going to need to make a decision right now if they want to remove the tree or apply a pesticide to kill the insect if they were to be infested," says Lyons.

      There are some distinctive qualities to look for which will help you identify if you have an ash tree. The branching structure is opposite so the twigs will grow directly out from one another. It will also have oar-shaped seeds called samaras.

      The city of Syracuse has already removed 400 ash trees within the last year, but there are still more than 18,000 left.

      The Ash Borer has been reported in 15 other counties across New York, most recently in Delaware and Otsego.

      It was first detected in Western New York in 2009.

      Right now, there are no known methods to control the pest.

      On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced a push for funding to learn more about how to stop the spread of the invasive species.

      Its presence in the U.S. can be traced back to Michigan in 2002. It??s thought the beetle, which is native to China, traveled to the U.S. on wooden pallets with car parts that were shipped to the Detroit area.

      Since April, 2012, the Onondaga County Emerald Ash Borer Task Force has been actively working with towns and public agencies across our area to prepare for the potential arrival of the ash borer.