Massachusetts imposes quarantine in Essex County to halt spread of Emerald Ash Borer, effective April 1; decision follows discovery of insect in North Andover, survey of affected area, public hearings

BOSTON , March 26, 2014 (press release) – Officials from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced that a quarantine will be established in Essex County to stop the spread of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The quarantine will take effect Tuesday, April 1st, 2014. This decision comes after the December 2013 discovery of EAB in North Andover as well as an extensive survey of the affected area and public hearings.

“The Emerald Ash Borer poses a very serious threat to ash trees across the Commonwealth,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “We believe a county-wide quarantine of Essex County provides the best chance for slowing the spread of this invasive species.”

The quarantine order means that certain products will be regulated from moving outside the contained area, including all hardwood firewood (any piece of wood smaller than 48”), all ash nursery stock and any ash lumber that has not been treated. Proper wood treatments include the removal of bark and half an inch of wood, dry kiln sterilization, fumigation and heat treatments.

Massachusetts is one of 22 states to have discovered EAB within its borders. In August 2012, EAB was detected in Dalton, leading to a quarantine of Berkshire County.

Immediately following the detection of the invasive species in North Andover, DCR began work with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the United State Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to formulate a plan for dealing with the invasive insect. With funding from the USFS, DCR also surveyed the area by girdling more than 40 trees, which stresses individual trees in an attempt to attract and identify any EAB in the area.

After the survey was completed, no trees were found to have EAB larvae present except in the initial area of infestation. DCR also engaged in a public outreach campaign allowing the public to express their opinions and concerns on the topic of quarantine. Plans for future surveys are currently being discussed and EAB traps will be utilized again this summer across Massachusetts. Approximately 100 ash trees will be girdled in Essex County and will serve as trap trees to continue to help identify the extent of the infestation.

Residents should be aware of the warning signs of EAB in Ash trees. These include: thinning of the upper canopy of the tree, increased woodpecker activity, early summer/fall leaf loss and “Dshaped” holes in the bark of the tree. Please visit for additional information. To report possible infestation, please contact the US Forest Service at 1-866-322- 4512.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Jack Murray, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit Contact us at

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