LANCASTER, N.Y — Como Lake Park in Lancaster has its fair share of foliage. But upon closer examination, dead ash trees pop out of the tree line.

The Emerald Ash Borer is to blame. The Asian insect arrived to the U.S. in 2002. Tree experts say it has spread like wildfire over the past 16 years. 

But how can homeowners tell whether the pest has invaded? Tom Anderson with Davey Tree said the first step is to identify the types of trees in a yard.

"If you have ash trees, you can decide if it's worth treating them based on the level of infestation," Anderson said.

Look for swirly markings and D-shaped holes in the trunks and bark of ash trees. Those are clear indications of the burrowing insect. 



Another invasive pest is the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The aphid-like pest has specialized mouth parts that pierce into the stems and leaves of Hemlock trees, sucking the sap and nutrients out. If white cottony masses are showing up underneath needles, that's a sign the pest has moved in.

Then there's the Oak Wilt. It’s a fungal pathogen that gets inside the tree and grows into the vascular tissue, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients. Anderson says not to prune oak trees during the growing season, between April 1 and October 1. That attracts the beetles carrying the disease. Wilting, browning or excessive shedding of green leaves are signs something isn't right.

There's new threat on the eastern side on the state found just last year. It's called the Spotted Lanternfly. Anderson says it’s a major concern because it can colonize on many different types of trees and crops.

Anderson's biggest piece of advice is be vigilant. Not only will it help the environment, but it will save some green, too.

"Tree removal can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000,” Anderson said. “So, inspect them, and make sure you understand what you have on your property so they can manage them effectively."

People with questions or concerns about invasive species are encouraged to contact the DEC