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Tree-Killing Insect Spreading Across Western New York | News

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Tree-Killing Insect Spreading Across Western New York

EAST AURORA, N.Y. - In February, Sharon Bachman noticed a problem along Seneca Street in East Aurora: it appeared woodpeckers had attacked a few of the ash trees. Bark was peeling off, and the trees were withering away.

Using her expertise as a community educator at Cornell Corporate Extension, Bachman made an immediate diagnosis.

"It's kind of the first sign that Emerald Ash Borer is moving into an area," Bachman said.

The Emerald Ash Borer -- known for short as EAB -- is a little green insect. It first appeared in North America in 2002 near Detroit before spreading across more than a dozen states, killing millions of trees. In 2009, researchers discovered the insect in the Town of Randolph in Cattaraugus County.

And now it's all across the region.

Bachman, a member of the Western New York EAB task force, said it's making its way toward the Northtowns and Niagara County.

This map outlines specific quarantined regions, which includes pockets all over the state of New York.

"If you're seeing dying trees out in your neighborhood, it could possibly be Emerald Ash Borer," Bachman said. "We've seen it move quite rapidly this spring."

Ash trees die quickly and fall apart in big chunks, according to Bachman, so it's particularly troubling when EAB attacks ash trees in residential backyards or near power lines.

"Taking down power lines, hurting somebody's car by their driveway, potentially hurting their house... we want to know where your ash tree is and what it's next to," Bachman said, "and is it a danger to somebody or something?"

Problem is, it can cost as much as $1,000 just to remove one tree.

But it may be important to take care of an EAB-infested tree as quickly as possible.

"Make a plan to take down the tree-- so we can keep the power on and be safe," Bachman said. "We don't want to see anybody hurt by falling trees."


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