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State environmental officials say the invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer is spreading faster than anticipated within Berkshire County and now poses a greater threat to eastern Massachusetts.
Nearly 18 months after the Department of Conservation and Recreation first detected it in Dalton, the metallic green beetle has been discovered in several neighboring communities.
Ken Gooch, the state's Forest Health program supervisor, tells The Berkshire Eagle it's spreading faster than expected.
The insect has also been detected in North Andover.
The state quarantined Berkshire wood in a bid to limit the spread of the bugs.
Emerald ash borer larvae feed just below the bark and adults eat the leaves, killing a tree within five years.
Originally from Asia, the insects have been detected in 22 states.