168-Year-Old Peterborough Basket Company Closing Because Of Invasive Pest

An invasive Emerald Ash Borer perched on a leaf. Photo: Getty Images

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A 168-year-old basket company in New Hampshire is shutting down because an invasive pest has destroyed its access to Ash wood. It was first founded in 1854. The Peterborough Basket company said the Emerald Ash Borer, a destructive insect that kills White Ash trees, has "reduced the availability of the wood used to make the baskets."

The company's baskets are mostly made of Appalachian White Ash — the same wood used to make ax handles and baseball bats.

The Emerald Ash Borer has quickly devastated ash trees in the United States, killing tens of millions of trees after first being discovered in Michigan in 2002. The USDA says the pest is native to Asia and probably was accidentally introduced when it was hidden in wooden packing materials. The pest has been spotted all over Massachusetts as well.

The company also blamed labor shortages, "significant" supply chain problems and a readiness to retire on the part of the owners as other reasons for the closure. The factory said it will be producing its last basket this summer or fall.

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