Friday, July 20, 2012

The Invasion Has Started in Prospect

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced today that the feared emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in Prospect and might be at the Naugatuck State Forest.

You might be wondering what that means.

There are approximately 22 million ash trees in Connecticut. It is often used for firewood and for making baseball bats. The emerald ash borer kills ash trees rapidly.

The insect larvae tunnel through the trees, finally emerging from a D-shaped hole as fairly pretty green bugs.

Since being discovered in Michigan in 2002, the EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone. Connecticut is the 16th state to be invaded by this Asian insect.

Emerald Ash Borer in tunnel.
Photo by Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,

At the moment, there's no way to stop the EAB. Scientists hope that its spread can be slowed down long enough for them to find a way to save the ash trees. If they can't, there will be no more ash trees.

For full information on the EAB,  especially for information on how to identify it, visit

There is also information on the Connecticut DEEP website.

If you see any signs of EAB, you should report it to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. You can email the state entomologist at


Today's announcement reminded me that we've lost two magnificent trees on the Waterbury Green. I think they are elm trees, but I'm not 100% certain.

When the trees started growing leaves this spring, I noticed the one to the right (in the photo below) wasn't growing any leaves. Oddly, the tree directly behind the horse fountain was growing leaves only on the half of the tree further away from the other one. Those leaves shriveled up and died.

Both trees still have a little life left near the ground, a few shoots of green leaves, but I'm sure they won't last long.

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