Tree-eating beetles invade Ridgefield

Photo of Peter Yankowski

Authorities are advising residents to be on the lookout for emerald ash borer beetles, a small green beetle that bores into the wood of a tree, eventually killing it.

In a tweet from the town’s official Twitter page, officials said the town is “facing an infestation” of the invasive beetle.

After hatching on the outside of the tree, the beetle larvae bore under the bark, feeding on the inner bark and thin layer of new tree growth under the bark, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

The larvae create a distinctive, squiggly trail under the bark of the tree in its larvae stage, while the adults feed on the tree leaves. Adults leave a D-shaped hole when they chew their way out from the inner bark of the tree, the state website says.

The state says individual trees tend to die within two to three years of becoming infested with the beetles. The metallic-green bugs were first found in the state in 2012.

The beetles almost exclusively target ash trees, the state agency’s website explains. In Connecticut, there are three species of tree that fall victim to the beetle and its offspring — the white ash, black ash, and the green or red ash. Beetles have also been known to dine on the fringe tree, a non-ash species, according to DEEP.

The ash-borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America, leading the federal government to force quarantines to prevent felled ash trees or hardwood firewood from being taken from areas suspected of ash borer infestation.

“Usually you see jagged holes on the tree’s exterior which may indicate an infested tree,” the town’s tweet said.

Anyone who suspects a tree on their property has been affected by Emerald Ash Borer Beetles should contact an arborist, or the town tree warden, who can be reached at 203-431-2358.