State Department of Environmental Conservation officials have made their first discovery of an emerald ash borer in Albany County in a Selkirk trap located on private property near the CSX rail yard.
The beetle infects and kills ash trees, and the infestation of the borer has led state officials to implement restrictions on the transportation of ash wood outside of neighboring Greene County, along with Ulster and Orange Counties in the Hudson Valley, in an attempt to limit the spread of the borer.
DEC officials placed approximately 200 purple prism traps in Albany County in the beginning of this year, and say the discovery in Selkirk was the only one in the county. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the finding on Oct. 20.
“This is sort of an end of the season round-up,” said DEC spokesperson Michael Bopp. “We bring in the traps and see what we’ve found.”
The emerald ash borer was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in southeastern Michigan, and the first finding in New York was in Cattaraugus County in the western part of the state in 2009. Currently, the state has set about 2,500 traps for the borer, and there were over 5,000 traps set by federal and state partners this year.
“We are continuing our investigation and sharing our findings and developing a coordinated response with our partners so that we all move together,” said Bopp. “We feel that we don’t need to do an emergency response quarantine because we are past the fly-around season, so we are at a low-transmission risk. We expect to have some kind of plan in place by the spring.”
DEC officials found no signs of infestation in ash trees surrounding the area where the beetle was found. The concern, though, is that damage could be done if the borer is not contained.