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Vt. counties warn of emerald ash borer during awareness week

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:42 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:14 AM EDT
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GRAND ISLE, Vt. (WCAX) - During emerald ash borer (EAB) Awareness week, volunteers in Grand Isle County have a lot going on to share information about a bug that will cause problems across the state.

Bill Baron is the tree warden for Grand Isle and heads up the EAB task force for the county.

He says they will be holding forest walks in-person and virtually, labeling prominent ash trees, putting up information at recycling centers and VTrans is putting up message boards at each end of the county.

Baron and volunteers will also be checking purple traps they set months ago to see if there’s evidence of the bug, which was first found in Grand Isle County in 2018.

While it’s estimated 6% of Vermont’s forests are ash trees, Baron says 30%-60% of the trees in Grand Isle County are ash.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Baron. “Once you see a tree that’s infected with EAB, after about three to five years, it’s very telling. The tree is very discolored, woodpeckers have gone after the tree, there’s a lot of epicormic sprouting, there’s branch die-back; it’s sad.”

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Vermont is part of a nationwide campaign to talk about the bug, which is currently in eight of the state’s counties.

“Ash is very prevalent in forest land and more urban communities and these ash, in all likelihood, the prediction is, over 99% of them will perish due to the EAB,” said Baron.

The biggest thing people can do to help slow the spread is not to move firewood.

Baron says the emerald ash borer hitchhikes in the wood, so it should be left where it is. Instead, buy wood where you go and burn it there.

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