Emerald Ash Borer
May 13, 2011
You’ve probably seen them popping up on roadsides and, unless you caught the NBC29 story this week, are still wondering what they are. These purple traps are one of many strategies the USDA is using to control and monitor the spread of a newly invasive pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB). The insect has already destroyed significant numbers of American ash trees, and no native species has been found to have any immunity. It has spread over Northern Virginia since 2008 (see below for quarantine area). Ashes are popular landscape trees – there are magnificent specimens all over Grounds – and the EAB poses a serious potential threat.
BUT…the EAB doesn’t move very far on its own, so awareness and care on our part can help contain the problem. The primary ways the bug hitches a ride to new areas are:
- ash (Fraxinus spp.) nursery stock,
- non-treated ash lumber,
I wanted more particulars about moving firewood, so I spoke yesterday with Debbie Miller, horticultural technician with the Albemarle Extension Office. She says we should be safe buying firewood within non-quarantined areas. And if you’re going camping, use firewood gathered or purchased at your destination rather than bringing it with you.
The EAB quarantine area includes the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William & Fauquier, and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. More information about the quarantine is available here in a PDF.
By the way, there are other emerald-green bugs in our area, so if you see one, don’t panic! (yet.) I had some beautiful Six-Spotted Tiger Beetles in my yard last week and learned that they’re harmless.
I’ve got lots more information about ash borers for the curious – just let me know.