Hearing to discuss status of ash borer infestation

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the status of the emerald ash borer in the state. –RA ARCHIVE

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the status of the emerald ash borer in the state. –RA ARCHIVE

PROSPECT — The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will hold a hearing tonight on the status of the emerald ash borer in the state and the expansion of the quarantine aimed at controlling its spread.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 36 Center St. Both written and oral comments will be accepted at that time.

The emerald ash borer, an invasive species native to Asia, recently has been detected in two additional counties, Hartford and Litchfield, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The critter was recently found in Watertown and Southington. It also was recently detected in Sherman, a Fairfield County town.

State officials previously confirmed emerald ash borer infestations in several New Haven County towns.

The insect was first found in the state in Prospect in July 2012.

In August 2012, the state imposed a quarantine on New Haven County to reduce the spread of the bug. Under the quarantine, no ash or hard firewood can leave the county without being treated first, such as removing the bark.

The quarantine mirrors a federal quarantine that took effect in September 2012.

With the bug found in three new counties, the quarantine will have to be extended, a spokesman with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has said.

Victoria Smith, deputy state entomologist with the experiment station, said the state is required by law to have the hearing. The experiment station invites everyone who is interested to attend and make sure their comments are heard.

Representatives from the experiment station as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine will be at the hearing, she said.

Regulations also are in effect regulating the movement of firewood from outside the state into Connecticut or within Connecticut.