The Colorado and U.S. departments of agriculture could move to end a Boulder County-centric quarantine designed to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle after it was discovered this month …
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The Colorado and U.S. departments of agriculture could move to end a Boulder County-centric quarantine designed to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle after it was discovered this month in Broomfield.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and state Department of Agriculture could end the quarantine this winter, saying that other means are now in place to help slow the spread of EAB in Colorado. Those include treating ash trees with ash-borer killing pesticides and releasing other bugs that prey on ash borers.
“The primary purpose of this quarantine has been to slow the spread of EAB in Colorado, and we believe this is one reason it’s taken so long for the pest to be confirmed outside Boulder County,” said Laura Pottorff, a plant health and certification section chief for the state agriculture department and lead member of the Colorado EAB Response Team. “Based on recent data from the eastern U.S., our expectation is that EAB cannot be prevented from leaving the quarantine. We’re just glad we’ve given Front Range communities more time to better plan and prepare for its arrival.”
The Emerald Ash Borer is a non-native wood-boring beetle responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada. As a non-native insect, it lacks predators to keep it in check.
It was first discovered in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002 and has been detected in Boulder, Gunbarrel and Longmont since 2013. The pest was found on private land in the vicinity of in Lafayette in 2017. That was still within the quarantine.
The state forest service began the quarantine around Boulder County in 2013 to help prevent human-assisted spread of the pest.
Property owners with ash trees should be on the lookout for thinning of leaves in the upper tree canopy, 1/8-inch D-shaped holes on the bark and vertical bark splitting with winding S-shaped tunnels underneath. People that find suspicious trees should report them by calling the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 1-888-248-5535 or filling out the EAB Report Form at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agplants/eab-identification-and-reporting.
This newest find is the first outside of the Boulder County quarantine. It was found near 136th Avenue and Main Street, but state agriculture officials don’t know if it spread there naturally — the beetles can spread a half-mile each year on their own — or if it was brought in by people accidentally, on firewood or infected ash bark.
The state estimates that at least 15 percent of all urban and community trees in Colorado are ash species that are susceptible to being killed by beetles. Most of those are located on private land.
“It’s not shocking that Emerald Ash Borer was found in Broomfield County, given its proximity to Boulder County,” said Matthew Johnson, of ArborScape Services, a local tree and landscaping service.
He urged residents in the area to know if they have ash trees on their property and plan for the bugs to continue spreading south.
“From our experience, it won’t take very long to ID ash trees victimized by EAB. Once you find the beetle, it becomes easier to find infested specimens, usually right in the neighborhood of discovery,” Johnson said.
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