Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Emerald Ash Borer?  
The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly destructive invasive beetle, a pest of ash trees.  It does not pose a risk to human health. The beetle is metallic green in color (1/2 inch x 1/8 inch) and can be general observed between mid-May and the end of July. Larvae are white and flat (1 inch) and develop underneath the tree bark.

It attacks and kills North American species of ash (Fraxinus spp). The mountain ash (Sorbus app.) – which is not a true Ash – is safe.

How serious is the threat?
The infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer is a long-term problem that will have significant long-term effects. It is believed to have killed millions of trees in the US and Canada. On the island of Montreal, it is estimated that nearly one in five trees is an Ash tree, and this species is the only one susceptible to the insect.

Many old-growth Ash trees will disappear in Hampstead, and it is likely that other Ash trees not yet showing signs of infestation have fallen victim to this insect. There is a high probability that all of these trees will either die or will have to be removed over the next several years.

 

How does it spread?
The EAB is most commonly by moving infested materials such as firewood, logs, branches, nursery stock, chips and other ash wood. In urban areas, the EAB can fly several kilometres in search of food when it is fully grown.

 

What is the importance of an Ash tree?  
It is commonly found on city streets, in woodlands and forests across southern Canada.  Its wood is also used to make furniture, hardwood floors, baseball bats, tool handles, electric guitars, hockey sticks and other materials requiring strength and resilience.                

 

Where did the bug come from? How did it get to Canada? How long has it been here?
The Emerald Ash Borer is native to China & eastern Asia. In May 2002, it was found in Michigan USA and July 2002 was found in Essex County, Ontario. In 2012, it was detected on the island of Montreal for the first time.

 

Where is it found in Canada?
At this time, it has been detected throughout southern Ontario and southern Quebec (MRC de Papineau and des Collines de l’Outaouais, Municipality of Carignan in Quebec and in cities of Gatineau, Laval, Longueuil and the island of Montreal, including Hampstead.

 

Who has the responsibility for regulatory control of the infestation?
Under the authority of the Plant Protection Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( CFIA)  is responsible for preventing pests of quarantine significance from entering or spreading within Canada.  Federal, provincial, municipal governments and industry continue to work together to protect Canada’s valuable forest resources.

On the island of Montreal, control measures for all agglomeration cities and towns are being coordinated by the Direction des grands parcs of the City of Montreal, but remain the responsibility of the individual municipalities to implement. The Town of Hampstead remains responsible for all trees within its territory.

What is the proposed plan to control the Emerald Ash Borer?
The CFAI believes in slowing the spread by:

  • regulating the movement of ash materials and firewood,
  • performing enforcement activities,
  • doing surveillance,
  • providing effective communications, and
  • supporting continued research.

Biological control and natural tree resistance may play increasingly important roles in managing this insect’s population.

 

Will the Federal Government / Quebec / Hampstead remove infested trees on private property ? Will compensation be available?
No, neither the Federal Governement nor the province will  remove trees nor provide compensation for Ash tree removal.  Tree owners are responsible for removing trees that are infested with the emerald ash borer and cover the costs associated with the removal.

In Hampstead, the Town will remove, if necessary, Ash trees on public property that have been heavily infested by the Emerald Ash Borer. Individual residents remain responsible for treating or removing Ash trees on private property. The Town does not provide any compensation for this work.

What are regulated areas?
Regulated areas are established through ministerial orders and notice of prohibition of movement, in order to slow the spread of the insect, protect the health of Canada’s trees and forest and prevent economic losses to the nursery, lumber, tourism industry and municipalities.

What items are restricted from leaving regulated areas?
Ash nursery stock, ash trees, ash logs, ash wood, rough lumber (containing ash, wood, bark, wood chips or bark chips from ash trees) and firewood of all tree species.

Are there fines for moving wood from a regulated area?
Yes, you can be fined for moving wood from a regulated area. Immediate penalties of up to $15,000.00 may be issued to individuals or businesses.

What is the Town of Hampstead doing?
The Town of Hampstead is proceeding in March 2013 to cut down nearly 70 Ash trees in the Netherwood Crescent sector of our community. These public trees have been heavily infested with this destructive insect and must be removed prior to March 31, before additional federal restrictions come into effect preventing the transportation of infected wood. Removing these trees may also help in reducing the further spread of this insect to healthy Ash trees in Hampstead and across the entire West End.

The Town is also coordinating with the Direction des grands parcs of the City of Montreal to evaluate other public trees in other sectors to determine of other tree removal is necessary.

 

Will Hampstead replant trees?
The Town of Hampstead is currently assembling a prudent and cost-effective tree replacement program, but even when implemented, it is not an immediate solution. Rather, it will take 10 to 20 years for the new trees to grow and begin to replace the Ash trees that we must remove.

 

What should Hampstead residents do?
Clearly, as insects cannot distinguish between public trees and those on private property, this troubling situation can only be dealt with effectively with your help. Our efforts are only useful if trees on private property are considered as well. At this time, the Town recommends the following:

  • That all Ash trees be cut down and replaced with a different tree species that are not susceptible to the Emerald Ash Borer.
  • That tree removal should be completed by March 31, where possible. Trees that are cut down after March 31 must be left at the site and not moved until winter. This restriction applies to all parties involved in tree removal, including licensed tree contractors, building construction workers, municipal entities and any other person or organization.

A secondary option is to treat Ash trees with the pesticide TreeAzin, which has proven effective if applied early. Ash trees must be retreated every 2 to 3 years until the threat of infestation has passed. The Town Council does not feel that this is the best option for public trees at this time, but it will not restrict the use of this pesticide should residents wish to use it on private trees.

Will I have to get a permit?
Should you wish to remove your Ash tree, please be advised that the need for a permit is being temporarily waived. The Town asks that you contact the Urban Planning department to inform us of tree removal prior to it taking place, and reserves the right to inspect the tree in question prior to cutting. Permits are still required for the removal of other trees. Please recall, however, that Ash tree removal should take place before March 31; if the tree is removed after that date, any wood that cannot be passed through a “chipper” must remain on site until the end of October in compliance with federal government restrictions. For details on this process, please contact the Urban Planning department at 514 369-8200, ext. 6438.

Can I use a pesticide on my tree?
A secondary option is to treat Ash trees with the pesticide TreeAzin, which has proven effective if applied early. This bio-pesticide is injected underneath the tree bark by licensed tree technicians and is not harmful to humans. Ash trees must be retreated every 2 to 3 years until the threat of infestation has passed. The Town Council does not feel that this is the best option for public trees at this time, but it will not restrict the use of this pesticide should residents wish to use it on private trees.

Do you know who can inspect and cut my tree?
While the Town has an accurate inventory of the species for each public tree, it does not have the same information regarding private trees. It is therefore difficult for us to determine if the trees on your property are at risk. If you are concerned, we recommend that you contact a licensed arboriculturist to determine if there are Ash trees on your property and if they have been infected.

What is the maximum delay for action?
Ash tree removal should take place prior to March 31, before additional federal restrictions come into effect preventing the transportation of infected wood. If the tree is removed after that date, any wood that cannot be passed through a “chipper” must remain on site until the end of October in compliance with federal government restrictions.

What if I don’t do anything?
Clearly, as insects cannot distinguish between public trees and those on private property, this troubling situation can only be dealt with effectively with your help. Our efforts are only useful if trees on private property are considered as well. Your collaboration in this effort is extremely important, as even one infected tree that is not treated or removed can allow for hundreds of new insects to grow and spread elsewhere.

Is tree removal on private property insured?
The Town of Hampstead recommends that residents consult their homeowners’ insurance policy or contact their insurance company to discuss coverage for tree removal or damage. As all policies are different, the Town cannot provide any guidance or advice in this regard.