Media Release

August 8, 2012

The Regional Municipality of York confirms widespread infestation of Emerald Ash Borer

Evidence of invasive insect identified in all nine municipalities
Backgrounder at bottom of release
NEWMARKET - The Regional Municipality of York has confirmed the presence of the invasive wood boring beetle Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), in all of our nine local municipalities.

The preliminary results of the ongoing survey indicate the EAB has spread throughout the Region.

Results of York Region’s EAB trap monitoring survey indicate the municipalities previously unaffected - the Towns of Newmarket, Georgina and East Gwillimbury, and the Township of King - now shows signs of infestation.

The infestation rates are lower further north into the Region, however dead and dying ash trees will become more obvious throughout the Region over the next few years.
 “Within 10 years, most of the ash trees in York Region will, regrettably, be gone,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “York Regional Council supports the EAB Management Plan, which has a focus on timely tree removal and replacement coupled with strategic tree protection.”

The removal and replacement of dead or declining Regional street trees will begin this fall in the City of Vaughan, the City of Markham and the Town of Richmond Hill. Affected ash trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner, and York Region encourages residents to speak with a qualified arborist or tree care professional to determine the best course of action.  There are options for residential tree protection, or removal and replacement. Tree care companies and arborists are listed in the Yellow Pages under “Tree Services” or by location through the International Society of Arboriculture ,
York Region initiated a Technical Working Group in 2011 to co-ordinate efforts and share best practices with municipalities, agencies and stakeholders. Most municipalities have EAB management plans to help guide decisions on managing this invasive species on municipal property.

“The Emerald Ash Borer is a serious threat being dealt with by municipalities across North America,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora, Chair of York Region’s Environmental Services Committee. “We can’t stop it, but it is important to continue to manage and invest in the urban forest. Efforts to slow the spread will help, including not moving firewood as the EAB can be spread through the movement of infested wood.”
Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive, wood-boring beetle native to Asia. It first made its appearance in North America in 2002 and in York Region in 2008.  EAB has been positively identified in all nine York Region municipalities.
EAB attacks and destroys all species of ash trees. Larvae feed under the bark, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients within the tree.
• EAB targets all native species of ash tree; other species of trees and plants are not susceptible to EAB infestation. EAB poses no risk to human health, it is a significant threat to our forests
• As damage and destruction is hidden under the bark, an infestation is well underway before external evidence is apparent
• Natural predators will not be effective in stopping the spread and eradication is not possible
• York Region and our local municipalities are undertaking an EAB management program which include tree removal and replacement and some strategic protection on Regional/municipal properties
• York Region’s street tree removal program will begin in late 2012 and replanting will follow in the spring of 2013 and beyond.
Residents are encouraged to learn to recognize ash trees, the EAB and signs of infestation. With this knowledge they can take appropriate action.
Emerald Ash Borer
• Colour: the beetle is a metallic green and its underside is bright emerald green
• Length: 8.5 to 14 millimetres (approximately 1/2 inch); width: approximately 3.4 millimetres (1/8 inch)
• Features: Elongated body, flat head and kidney-shaped, black eyes
• Larvae (found under the bark): White and flat, distinctive bell-shaped segments; larvae can grow up to 30 millimetres (one-inch)
Ash trees
• Can grow to 30 metres in height
• Leaves are 13 to 30 centimetres in length and contain five to 11 leaflets per leaf
• Leaves are positioned opposite one another, with one at the top
• Branches and buds are directly across from each other, rather than staggered
Signs of Infestation
Once a tree shows sign of infestation, tree decline is already well underway. Residents are strongly advised to contact a tree care professional for confirmation and to determine a course of action. 
• Loss of green colour in uppermost leaves
• Loss of leaves at top of tree
• Increased woodpecker activity
• Multiple stem shoots
• Small (3mm in diameter), D-shaped exit holes
What can you do?
• Residents can help to slow the spread of EAB by not moving wood including nursery stock, firewood and wood chips
• Get involved in planting trees in your neighbourhood
• Participate in replanting programs such as York Region’s backyard tree planting program delivered by LEAF ( )
Protection of healthy ash trees
• There are pesticides, including TreeAzin, registered for use in Canada to prevent ash tree damage
• Ash trees which are larger, still healthy and structurally sound are the best candidates for treatment
• TreeAzin must be injected into the ash tree every two years by someone with an applicator’s license
• This pesticide poses little risk to people, pets or wildlife and degrades naturally
• For information on TreeAzin visit
Why are trees important?
The Urban Forest and trees provide benefits to our health, natural environment and economy.  Trees can improve air and water quality, offer shade, increase habitat for wildlife, provide energy cost savings and increase property value.
Roles and responsibilities
Ash trees in Regional/municipal right-of-way (street trees along roads) are the responsibility of either York Region or the local municipality. Ash trees located on private property are the responsibility of the property-owner.
York Region’s role
York Region is working closely with our area municipalities, conservation authorities, other partners and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate efforts and help raise awareness through educating residents and business owners.

For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer, please visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website, or call 1-866-463-6017. Information can also be found on the front page link at

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Media Contact: Barbara Moss, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1237  Cell: 905-505-5775
The Regional Municipality of York provides services to 1.1 million residents and 41,000 businesses that employ 516,000 people

Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities
and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

 For more information visit us at Follow us on : York Region   @YorkRegionGovt  
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