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Emerald Ash Borer Found in Davidson County

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | 08:18am

NASHVILLE – A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees has been expanded to include Davidson County. The insect was found in a USDA-APHIS trap in a residential area of Old Hickory. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 39.

“EAB continues to spread across the state,” Gray Haun, TDA’s Plant Certification administrator said. “Finding it initially in a residential area instead of along a waterway or in a campsite is a bit unusual and inspectors are continuing to search Davidson County for more signs of EAB.”

The EAB detection program deployed by TDA and USDA-APHIS uses purple box traps placed in trees to determine if EAB is in the area. The traps are coated with an adhesive that captures insects when they land. The color is attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for people to spot among the foliage.

EAB is a destructive forest pest that was introduced from Asia into the United States in the 1990’s. Over the past decade, EAB has spread to 24 states and parts of Canada. This pest was first detected in Tennessee in 2010 in Knox County. Since that time, it has spread to 30 counties throughout East and Middle Tennessee. Several other Tennessee counties have been quarantined for EAB even though EAB hasn’t been confirmed because the likelihood of the insect being there is high.

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:

• Leave firewood at home. Don’t transport firewood, even within the state.

• Use firewood from local sources near where you’re going to burn it, or purchase firewood that is certified to be free of pests (it will say so on the label included with the packaging).

• If you have moved firewood, burn all of it before leaving your campsite.

• Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees.  If you suspect your ash tree could be infested with EAB, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/eab for a symptoms checklist and report form or call TDA’s Consumer and Industry Services Division at 1-800-628-2631. 

For more information about EAB and other destructive forest pests in Tennessee, visit the new website: www.protecttnforests.org. 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 help protect their trees.

Other EAB information:

EAB attacks only ash trees. It is believed to have been introduced into the Detroit, Mich. area approximately 20 years ago on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has killed millions of ash trees across several states including Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Typically, the Emerald Ash Borer 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 would 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.

TDA’s Division of Forestry estimates that five million urban ash trees in Tennessee are potentially at risk from EAB. The risk represents an estimated value loss of $2 billion. There are an estimated 261 million ash trees on Tennessee public and private timberland potentially valued as high as $9 billion. 

For more information about other TDA programs and services visit www.tn.gov/agriculture.

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