DEM taking action to combat invasive insect

That attacks ash trees
Thu, 02/28/2019 - 5:15pm

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, along with state and federal collaborators, has devised an action plan to combat the destructive impact caused by an insect that destroys ash trees.

According to New Shoreham Tree Warden Ned Phillips, there are ash trees on Block Island that could be imperiled. Block Island has a small population of ash trees, specifically at Ball O’Brien Park, and an infestation could lead to destruction of those trees. 

On Friday, Feb. 22, DEM announced in a press release that it “has finalized an action (plan) to address the destructive effects of emerald ash borer to Rhode Island’s ash resources. An invasive forest insect from Asia, the insect was first detected in Rhode Island last summer; the state now joins the federal quarantine which covers much of the eastern United States.”

The DEM will be taking the action in partnership with the University of Rhode Island, National Grid, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry.

Part of the DEM’s action plan will be to apply “systemic insecticides to the exterior of the lower trunk of an ash tree as a spray, to the soil as a drench or granules, or injected directly into the tree stem are options for controlling EAB populations to retain live ash. Other pesticide products can be used as a preventative measure.”

The DEM noted that, “Homeowners and licensed pesticide applicators are advised to contact DEM’s Division of Agriculture — Pesticide Registration at (401) 222-2781 to ensure that the product they plan to use is registered for use and application in Rhode Island. Care should be taken so that these products are not applied near water or where bees are foraging.”

DEM may also release bio-control agents in the effort. “Natural enemies of EAB, “Bio-control Agents,” have been shown to slow the spread of (the insect), but become less effective as the EAB population grows and spreads. When appropriate and feasible, DEM, or its partners, may release approved bio-control agents in accordance with the “Emerald Ash Borer Biological Control and Release Recovery Guidelines of 2016.”

DEM wants to remind residents and visitors of the state “to protect Rhode Island’s forests by buying and burning local firewood. Wood dealers, loggers, and arborists should check state and federal restrictions prior to transporting ash out of Rhode Island.” 

For more information on emerald ash borer or other exotic agricultural pests, invasive insects, or plants, go to the DEM’s website: