Seven Additional Tennessee Counties Quarantined For Emerald Ash Borer

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been expanded to seven additional counties in Middle and East Tennessee. Clay, Fentress, Macon, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, and Rhea counties have 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 34.

EAB has been confirmed in Fentress, Morgan and Rhea counties. There has not been a positive detection of EAB in Clay, Macon, Overton and Pickett counties, but due to the fact that small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is also taking the precautionary measure of quarantining those counties as well.

"Because of the presence of EAB in nearby counties, there is a high likelihood that it is present in these counties as well, but so far has gone undetected,” Gray Haun, TDA’s Plant Certification administrator said. “We feel it is in the best interest of the state to go ahead and quarantine these areas.”

The insect has been previously found through the EAB detection program deployed by TDA and USDA-APHIS where purple box traps are placed in trees.

EAB is a destructive forest pest that was introduced from Asia into the United States in the 1990’s. Since its introduction, 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 25 counties throughout East and Middle Tennessee.

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, Mi. area in the early 1990’s on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has killed millions of ash trees across several states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, 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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