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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Residents in southern NH warned to look for invasive bug

DURHAM – A state entomologist says there’s a high probability a destructive beetle that targets ash trees is in southern New Hampshire, even though it hasn’t been seen there yet.

Forest officials working in Salem found a “significant” emerald ash borer infestation just a few hundred feet away over the Massachusetts state line. They advise homeowners in New Hampshire’s Rockingham and Hillsborough counties to examine their trees. ...

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DURHAM – A state entomologist says there’s a high probability a destructive beetle that targets ash trees is in southern New Hampshire, even though it hasn’t been seen there yet.

Forest officials working in Salem found a “significant” emerald ash borer infestation just a few hundred feet away over the Massachusetts state line. They advise homeowners in New Hampshire’s Rockingham and Hillsborough counties to examine their trees.

Communities within 10 miles of the infestation include Hudson, Pelham, Londonderry, Windham, Salem, Derry, Hampstead, Atkinson, Plaistow, Sandown, Danville, Kingston and Newton. Piera Siegert, state entomologist, said if the insect is found, state officials will impose a quarantine on the movement of ash wood products and hardwood firewood.

Ash trees make up about 6 percent of hardwoods in New Hampshire, where the beetle was previously detected in Concord and between Canterbury and Loudon.

A native of China, the bright green bug was accidentally imported to Michigan in 2002 and has spread relentlessly in North America, reaching 18 other states and Quebec; no barrier or containment has been successful.

Infected ash trees usually die within three years.

Some researchers predict the continent’s ash trees, particularly
moisture-loving black ash and green ash but also white ash, New England’s favorite variant, will be all but wiped out.

A federal seed bank has been established to preserve ash seeds so that if resistance is developed or a cure is found, the species can be reintroduced.

Attempts also are being made to cross-breed American ash species with the Chinese ash tree, which has evolved over millennia to be resistant to the insects.