DEC confirms emerald ash borer in Jefferson County

Local News

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Jefferson County. A sample collected from a tree in the city of Watertown on South Massey Street was identified positive by Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Lab. The sample was taken in cooperation with the City of Watertown Planning Department and Department of Public Works. A second location was confirmed in the village of Clayton. 

“All of New York’s native ash trees are susceptible to EAB,” said Randall Young, Region 6 Regional Director. “DEC Foresters work diligently to educate municipalities and the public about this invasive pest, holding workshops for landowners and other stakeholders to track the spread of this destructive beetle in Northern New York. Firewood regulations prohibiting the movement of firewood more than 50 miles from the source of origin should be followed to help slow the spread of EAB and other invasive insects.”

Ash trees are a component of Jefferson County’s forest ecosystem, with higher densities found in the northern portion of the county and along the Black River and Lake Ontario. In addition, ash trees have often been used as a shade tree in landscapes and along roadsides. 

EAB larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree often within a few years. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inches long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. These insects may be present from late May through early September, but are most common in June and July.

Although ash trees and wood are no longer subject to quarantine in New York State, DEC invasive species regulations prohibit most movement of EAB and other prohibited species, with some exemptions for identification and disposal. DEC firewood regulations regulate the movement of untreated firewood of all wood species to prevent the spread of invasive tree pests, including EAB. DEC recommends that wood from ash trees that have been infested and/or killed by EAB be left or utilized on site or chipped to less than one inch in at least two dimensions to prevent further spread.

Rapid response and control are critical in minimizing the establishment of an invasive population. To support New York State’s overall effort to combat invasive species, the 2019 State Budget included a total of $13.3 million in the Environmental Protection Fund targeted specifically to prevent and control invasive species.

For more information and treatment options for emerald ash borer, visit DEC’s website. Occurrences of any invasive species can be reported to the DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostic Laboratory by emailing photographs to

Municipalities and landowners looking for advice on dealing with impacts of EAB or have questions may contact regional DEC Private Lands Staff,

Connect with DEC on: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories