Gloucester County confirmed as latest site of Emerald Ash Borer

by | Jul 16, 2022 | Environmental

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer (also known as EAB), an invasive tree-killing insect, in Gloucester County. Since it was first identified in Virginia in 2008, this destructive forest pest – one of the worst to ever invade the U.S. – has destroyed millions of ash trees. The EAB has now been documented in nearly every county across the Commonwealth.

This small, metallic-green beetle specifically targets ash trees. However, some other tree species are also susceptible to EAB damage. Just one insect can lay 40-70 eggs, resulting in larvae that bore into the tree and feed on the inner bark and water system. This activity robs the tree of vital nutrients and eventually kills it. Signs of an EAB infestation include thinning tree canopy, small holes on the bark shaped like the letter “D,” epicormic branching (sprouts from the trunk or limbs), and serpentine markings under the tree bark.

“It is most critical to consider ash trees in your yard and public spaces, especially if they have limbs that hang over your home, business, other structures or parking areas,” said Eastern Region Area Forester Lisa Deaton. “Contact VDOF or a certified arborist for monitoring information, treatment options and other steps you can take to keep ash trees healthy. Remember, you can help these pests from spreading by not moving firewood from one location to another.”

The best way to fight this pest is to monitor for tell-tale signs and treat trees by trunk injection or systemic insecticide soil drench. These actions help keep the water and nutrient transportation system intact and offer the best chance of survival. Early identification is key; once a tree loses just 30 percent of its leaf canopy, it’s very likely to die.

Prior to Gloucester, King and Queen County was added to the map of confirmed areas in 2019. Middlesex and Matthews counties, as well as several locations on the Eastern Coast of Virginia remain undocumented for EAB, although its presence is suspected.

For more information about reporting EAB, and a comprehensive ash tree management guide, visit the VDOF website. For more assistance, find your local VDOF forester here.

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