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July 07, 2015

New Jersey officials find 'highly destructive' beetles in three counties

Insect deadly to ash trees, officials preparing for it to spread

An "invasive" and "highly destructive" beetle has been reportedly found in three New Jersey counties, the state's department of agriculture reported Monday. 

The emerald ash borer beetle was found by officials in Burlington, Somerset, and Mercer counties. The bug is known for attacking and killing ash trees.In those counties, the insect was found in Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Westampton, Ewing and West Windsor. 

The bug is known for attacking and killing ash trees. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) said that the beetle spreads fast and that municipalities need to be prepared. 

“Now that the beetle is in New Jersey and is starting to spread, we ask that towns put plans in place to respond to the beetle," New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said in a statement. 

The beetle, which was discovered in New Jersey in the spring of 2014 and has killed tens of millions of ash trees across the country, is described as a metallic green bug that's about a half of an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide. It's larvae sink into the bark of ash trees and cut off the flow of nutrients as they develop.

A federal quarantine is also in place on firewood in the state as a result, and residents are asked not to burn wood from New Jersey outside the state.

The NJDA has set up traps for the bugs in 87 towns, a list of which can be found here. Residents and towns can find resources on how to protect ash trees and dispose of dead trees here