Two More Counties Quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer

Thursday, July 09, 2015 | 2:51pm

NASHVILLE – A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been expanded to include two more Tennessee counties.

With EAB discovered in traps in Bledsoe and Cumberland, both counties have now been added to the list of areas restricted for the movement of ash trees and ash tree products. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 41.

EAB is a destructive forest pest that was introduced from Asia into the United States in the 1990s. This pest was first detected in Tennessee in 2010 in Knox County. The Department of Agriculture and USDA-APHIS have worked together to identify EAB infestation using purple box traps placed in trees across the state.

Typically, the EAB beetles can kill an ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. Adults are dark green, one-half inch in length and one-eighth inch wide, and fly only from April until September, depending on the climate of the area. In Tennessee, most EAB adults fly in May and June. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees. When they emerge as adults, they leave D-shaped holes in the bark about one-eighth inch wide.

The EAB quarantine prohibits the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber and other material that can spread EAB. Citizens should report any symptomatic ash trees to TDA and follow these simple rules: 

  • Don’t transport firewood, even within the state.
  • Use firewood from local sources near where it will be burned.
  • If you purchase firewood, make sure that is labeled and certified to be pest free.
  • Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. Click here for a symptoms checklist and a map of quarantined counties.

TDA’s Division of Forestry estimates that there are 261 million ash trees on public and private timberland in Tennessee, potentially valued as high as $9 billion. 

For more information about EAB and other destructive forest pests, visit Protect TN Forests. The site is a multi-agency effort to inform and educate Tennesseans on the harmful impacts insects and diseases have on our trees, where the problem spots are, and what landowners can do to protect their trees.