Southern Vermont on the lookout for invasive insect

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STAMFORD, Vt. (WCAX) Residents in Southern Vermont are being advised to be on the lookout for an invasive beetle that has been spotted nearby.

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation says the emerald ash borer was recently spotted in North Adams, Massachusetts. Now, neighboring towns in Vermont, including Stamford, Pownal, Bennington, Woodford and Readsboro, are considered high-risk areas.

Some areas of Vermont are already infected. The beetles were first spotted in Orange County back in February, after much anticipation.

Even though the bug has not been spotted in Stamford, experts say it is very likely it's already there.

The insects infect ash trees and can kill a tree in 3-5 years. Those trees make up 5 percent of Vermont's forests, so infestation could impact the state's bottom line.

Experts say the beetle is already responsible for the widespread decline of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.

To help slow the spread, experts say do not relocate firewood from a high-risk area. They say if you're buying firewood, ask where it's coming from.

Click here to report any sightings of the destructive pest to Vermont Invasives.