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Officials Warn North Plainfield Residents Of ‘Green Menace’ Infestation

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new, destructive pest is targeting the Tri-State area.

As CBS 2′s Elise Finch reported, an invasive beetle that kills ash trees has been found in Somerset County, N.J.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is warning homeowners in North Plainfield about the “Green Menace.”

That’s what arborists call the Emerald Ash Borer — a tiny, metallic green beetle that attacks and kills healthy ash trees.

“They’ll lay eggs, the larvae will hatch, they’ll bore just under the bark, they don’t go deep into the wood…By doing that they’re disrupting the water flow and the nutrient flow of the tree,” explained Joseph Zoltowski, with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

When the larvae becomes mature, they chew their way out of the tree, making “D”-shaped exit holes. It’s one of the tell-tale signs of the Emerald Ash Borer that residents should look for.

Other signs to look for include:

  • Dead leaves at the top of the tree
  • Sprouts growing from the roots and trunk
  • Split bark with an “S”-shaped pattern
  • And more woodpecker activity, as the birds extract and eat the larvae

Experts say if less than a quarter of your tree’s canopy has been killed off by the Green Menace, chances are that the tree can still be saved.

“We’re doing a trunk injection of a different chemical that the tree takes up through the trunk and kills off the borer,” explained Joseph Oszust, with Bartlett Tree Experts.

Preventative chemicals are available, but not necessarily recommended, Finch reported.

“You don’t always want to put a repellent in a tree for something that may not happen, you don’t want to injure the plant,” said Christopher Eustis, with Caffrey Tree & Landscape.

The news also has homeowners concerned about what the damaged or dead trees may mean for their property during the next big storm to pass through.

“If the tree hits my house I got a problem,” said North Plainfield resident Roger Pietrucha.

“They’re tired of actually spending money. They’re like lets just get rid of the trees and we won’t have to deal with it,” said Scotch Plains resident Michael Ridge.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is surveying trees to determine the extent of the infestation. Anyone who notices signs of the Emerald Ash Borer, is urged to report it to the agriculture department.

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