PETER SMALLIDGE: In the majority of the state, the ash borer is present. Here at the Arnot forest and in most of Central New York, in the Southern Tier, essentially, we're assuming that all ash trees are either infested or soon to be infested. The majority of these larger ash trees are going to die because the beetle is present and there's no way to effectively, on a large scale, control the insect.
When the insect arrives, it bores holes into the tree. The females lay eggs that hatch into larvae. And the larvae feed just inside the bark. From the time that a tree becomes noticeably infected, the trees are probably within a year or two of death. And some landowners, it's in their best interest just let the trees rot. They provide habitat for wildlife. And a dead tree still has some ecological value, but it has no economic value.
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Peter Smallidge, Arnot Research Forest director, describes the severity of the emerald ash borer infestation.