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As emerald ash borer is found in new areas, Maine further restricts movement of ash products

Courtesy USDA

The emerald ash borer is continuing to spread across the state. The invasive insect has recently been observed in Lovell, Gray, Lewiston, Waterville and Oakland. These are the first detections in Androscoggin and Kennebec counties.

In response, the Maine Forest Service expanded an emergency order limiting the movement of ash trees and ash products in areas where the insect has been detected.

Oakland's infestation appears to be several years old. State Entomologist Allison Kanoti says the insect can lurk undetected, before any tree damage is apparent.

"So that's one of the reasons that moving firewood is so problematic, and we encourage people to use local firewood, or heat-treated firewood," Kanoti says.

Ash is an important cultural resource for the Wabanaki, and a valuable timber species, accounting for about 4% of Maine's hardwood forest. Kanoti urges Mainers to report any observations of the insects outside their known range.