The invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) is now in Fort Collins.

According to a press release from the City of Fort Collins, a local tree company recently spotted the pests, which target ash trees, just outside of city limits on the north end of Fort Collins.

State and City officials, along with entomologists from Colorado State University, were able to confirm that the company's discovery was indeed EAB.

The release states that the reason for the pests' appearance in Fort Collins is likely the human transport of infested ashwood, such as firewood and other raw materials.

While unfortunate, this is not an unexpected revelation.

EAB first popped up in Boulder in 2013, and has since spread to Broomfield, Westminster, and Berthoud.

In response to the insects' rapid spread, the City's Forestry Division began selectively removing and replacing ill ash trees, shadow planting ash trees that will not be treated long term, evaluating public ash trees, and educating the community about EAB in 2015.

Colorado State University also began removing some of its ash trees this year on Earth Day (April 22).

"It's important to remember that this is a natural disaster in slow motion," said City Forester Kendra Boot in the release. "Since EAB's first detection in Colorado, we had the opportunity to plan and prepare for this pest, unlike other parts of the state and country. As always, we will approach the management of this invasive pest thoughtfully and thoroughly, while balancing the social, environmental and economic impacts that EAB will have on our resilient community."

With the discovery of EAB in Fort Collins, the Forestry Division's approach now includes treating healthy public ash trees starting in spring of next year, as well as continuing the aforementioned response efforts.

The Forestry Division is also encouraging Fort Collins residents to devise their own EAB management plans by evaluating any ash trees on their properties, and determining whether or not the removal of their trees is necessary.

Having a plan is imperative, as EAB can kill both sick and healthy ash trees within two to four years after an infestation.

More information about how to develop an EAB plan can be found here. 

The City also wants residents to avoid transporting any ash material out of the Fort Collins area, in order to prevent the spread of the pest to other communities.

Fort Collins is not the only city taking action against EAB. The City of Greeley has also established a treatment program in order to hold off the arrival of the invasive beetles.

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