BUFFALO, N.Y. — If a metallic green beetle shows up in your tree, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says do not overreact, just be aware.
It's an Emerald Ash Borer, a type of beetle that infests and kills ash trees. They've now been found in South Park in Buffalo.
"It was first found in 2002 in southeast Michigan, and since then, it's probably killed tens of thousands of ash trees," said Abby Snyder, the DEC regional director.
The metallic green beetle was first detected in Cattaraugus County in 2009. Since then, it's been spotted in seven other counties, including Genesee, Monroe, and now Erie.
About as big as your pinkie fingernail, the Emerald Ash Borer burrows into the bark of an ash tree and prevents water and nutrients from getting to the tree, causing it to eventually die.
The DEC says the pests may have migrated here mainly through the distribution of firewood.
"It's being transported somehow, either through firewood, or some sort of wood products. It could be on a train. The train moves the products," said Snyder.
How can you detect an Ash Borer infestation?
"They leave an odd-shaped hole when they exit an ash tree. It's D-shaped, so it's flat on one side and round on the other,” said Andrew Rabb, the deputy commissioner of public works for Parks & Recreation.
Another indication of the pests is sprouting from the tree's trunk and roots.
There are treatments available that include injecting the tree with a serum to protect it, but that can get costly and only lasts up to three years at most.
"You can inoculate your tree, but it's a commitment, you have to do it every so often, every couple years, and you'll be doing those treatments for quite some time,” said Rabb.
One measure conservationists have taken to contain the insects in South Park is to girdle the ash tree as a way to attract nearby beetles in order to slow their natural spread, so that the infested tree can later be cut down and disposed of.