JP’s tree-killing beetle triggers statewide wood quarantine

The discovery this summer of the tree-killing Emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle has triggered a ban on transporting ash wood. But unlike a previous quarantine for the Asian longhorned beetle, it doesn’t have much local impact, banning only taking the wood across the state line.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) already had EAB quarantines in place on Berkshire and Essex counties. As a result of the JP beetle discovery, this week DCR placed the entire state under the quarantine.

The quarantine order means that people are prohibited from moving certain ash wood and tree products outside the state. , including any piece of wood smaller than 48 inches, all ash nursery stock, and any ash lumber that has not been treated.

A single specimen of the EAB was found in a trap at the Arnold Arboretum on July 16—the beetle’s first known appearance in Suffolk County.

The discovery came only months after the end of a four-year quarantine related to another tree-killing insect, the Asian longhorned beetle, which also was found near the Arboretum. That quarantine covered the immediate JP area and required local collection and chipping of wood debris. The EAB quarantine does not require that.

The EAB damages only ash trees, so it will not destroy entire forests. A native of Southeast Asia, it has spread rapidly in the U.S. It has infested more than 20 states in 12 years.

The EAB is a small, metallic green beetle so small that seven of them could fit on the head of a penny. Signs of EAB damage include: tiny, D-shaped exit holes in the bark of ash trees; dead branches in the upper third of the tree canopy; and sprouting of branches just below the dead area.

In the winter months, signs of woodpecker activity on ash trees may indicate an EAB infestation. Fresh, light-colored wood pecks stand out against the darker bark of the tree.

Any suspected EAB sightings can be reported to the National EAB Hotline at 866-322-4512. More information about EAB is available at

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