Beetle Invasion in North Andover?

State officials report a very invasive species in town.

File photo.
File photo.
This isn't the typical time of year most people worry about insects in their yards, but that may change now.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Agricultural Resources have announced that the Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in North Andover, in a sample taken Nov. 15. Federal officials confirmed the finding a few days later.

"The presence of Emerald Ash Borer in our state represents a serious threat to our ash trees,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “We are taking swift action to address the infestation, and are working to mitigate any impact an infestation could bring."

Native to Asia and first discovered in North America in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer is a small, metallic green beetle that feeds on ash trees. EABs are extremely destructive and can kill ash whole trees within a few years.

This is the second batch of Emerald Ash Borers found in Massachusetts this year. EABs were found in Berkshire County in August.

"It is important for the public to remain vigilant and to report any ash trees with signs of Emerald Ash Borer damage,” DAR Commissioner Greg Watson said. "Early detection of new infestations will help slow the spread of this pest."

EABs can also invade firewood, so watch out when you bring wood in.

Residents are urged to take the time to learn the signs of EAB damage and be sure to report any sightings.

The state advises you to look for the following: 

  • Tiny, D-shaped exit holes in the bark of ash trees, dieback in the upper third of the tree canopy, and sprouting of branches just below this dead area.
  • In the winter months, look for signs of EAB infestation left by woodpecker activity on ash trees. Fresh, light-colored wood pecks stand out against the darker bark of the tree. Severe woodpecker activity at the base of the canopy or on the main stems may indicate possible EAB infestation and should be reported to state forest health personnel immediately.
  • The Emerald Ash Borer is an emerald-green metallic beetle, so small that seven of them could fit on the head of a penny. 

To report suspicious tree damage or insect sightings, or to learn more about this pest, visit www.massnrc.org/pests. You can also call the toll free EAB hotline at 866-322-4512.



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