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Destructive insect that targets ash trees is found in Maine

The emerald ash borer had not previously been found in the state despite aggressive searches.
Credit: Monique van Someren
Jewel beetle Agrilus planipennis, commonly known as the emerald ash borer.

MADAWASKA, Maine (AP) - A destructive forest pest that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in many states has been found in northern Maine.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the emerald ash borer had not previously been found in the state despite aggressive searches. The agency says the beetle, which is originally from Asia, has been found in more than 30 additional states since its discovery in Michigan in 2002.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the insect was discovered last week in Madawaska, in far northern Maine.

Officials say state and federal officials are meeting to implement an emergency response plan to protect the state's ash trees, which are estimated to have an unprocessed commercial value of about $320 million.