The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed that insects collected from ash trees in South Hero, VT are larvae of the emerald ash borer (EAB). This location is about fifty miles from the closest confirmed EAB infestation in Vermont. This invasive insect was first discovered in Vermont in February, and has also been confirmed in Orange, Washington, Caledonia, and Bennington counties.
State and federal agencies are planning a delineation survey based on tree symptoms to determine the extent of the newly detected EAB infestation. Landowners and other residents of South Hero and surrounding towns are urged to look for signs and symptoms of the insect and report suspicious findings on . Detailed information about the pest and what to look for may be found at the same website.
Although it may be hard to see, EAB is likely to be present in other locations within ten miles of known infestations. In northwestern Vermont this includes the towns of South Hero and Grand Isle, most of Colchester and Milton, and parts of Burlington, Essex, Georgia, North Hero, the Town of St Albans, Westford, and Winooski. Moving any infested material, especially ash firewood, logs, and pruning debris, can quickly expand the infestation, so it is critical Vermonters follow the ‘slow-the-spread’ recommendations, available at . One important recommendation is to only buy local firewood.
Emerald ash borer was detected in Carignan, Quebec in 2008, and had spread to Haut-Richelieu, the Regional County Municipality abutting Grand Isle County, by 2012. However, no Canadian infestations within ten miles of Vermont have been reported.
EAB larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves water and sugars up and down the trunk. It was first discovered in North America in the Detroit area in 2002, and over the past sixteen years it has decimated ash populations. In 2018, EAB was also detected for the first time in Maine and Rhode Island and is known to occur in 35 states and five Canadian provinces. Ash trees comprise approximately 5% of Vermont forests and are also a very common and important urban tree. EAB threatens white ash, green ash and black ash in Vermont and could have significant ecological, cultural, and economic impacts.
A public information meeting is being planned in northwestern Vermont later in the fall and details will be announced shortly.
For more information on how you can help slow the spread:
- See this current map of the infested zone and find more EAB information at
- Spread the word, not the bug by watching this video: