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TRAPPING PROGRAM HELPS TRACK MOVEMENT OF THE DESTRUCTIVE EMERALD ASH BORER IN VIRGINIA

 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today that it is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) again in 2012 to conduct a statewide survey to determine the extent of areas infested with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This is the fourth consecutive year for the EAB survey.

 

As part of the upcoming 2012 EAB survey efforts, USDA has again contracted with Delta-21 Resources, Inc. to install approximately 2,300 traps throughout portions of central, southern and western Virginia. The traps are easy to identify. They are purple in color, triangular in shape and measure 14" wide by 24" long. The traps are baited with natural plant oil attractant and covered with a non-toxic glue to catch the EAB. The traps are especially useful for revealing new infestations that would otherwise remain undetected. 

 

The EAB larvae kill ash trees by feeding on the inner bark and disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. EAB was introduced accidentally into the United States, most likely in wood packing materials coming from Asia, and was first detected in Michigan in 2002. The first EAB detection in Virginia occurred in Fairfax County in 2003, at an elementary school where infected ash trees originating from a nursery in Michigan had been planted. To prevent the spread of EAB, all ash trees within a half mile radius of the school were cut and chipped. Over the next few years, surveys for EAB were negative suggesting that the infestation had been contained and effectively eradicated. 

 

Unfortunately, EAB was detected again at multiple sites in Fairfax County in 2008. This resulted in the establishment of a quarantine for ten northern Virginia counties and independent cities, including the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The quarantine was expanded in 2010 due to additional EAB detections and now also includes Frederick and Clarke Counties and the city of Winchester. The quarantine restricts the movement of articles capable of transporting EAB from quarantined localities to non-quarantined localities in an effort to slow the spread of this destructive beetle. The regulated articles, which include ash trees, green (non-heat treated) ash lumber and ash wood products, as well as hardwood firewood, pose a significant risk of transporting EAB.

 

Along with the trapping program, VDACS and USDA have been urging campers not to move firewood but to buy it at the camp site. Movement of firewood is a known factor in the artificial spread of EAB and other insects and diseases such as Asian Longhorned Beetle, Gypsy Moth and Thousand Cankers Disease.

 

In 2011, Delta-21 surveyors placed 5,500 traps around the state. There were no positive traps found, indicating that the quarantine may have helped slow the spread of the borer.  The survey is continuing in 2012 in an effort to detect new infestations.     

 

VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr explained the reasons for continuing the EAB survey, which will begin April 1 and will run through September, “Although we hope the spread of this highly destructive pest has been contained, we cannot afford to let down our guard. The damage caused by this invasive insect can mean the loss of millions of dollars for homeowners, landowners and our nursery and forest products industries. It is extremely important to track the movement of EAB in order to help slow its spread and to work with localities to help them make informed pest management decisions.”

 

Find additional information about the EAB at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/. Additional information regarding specific trap locations can be obtained by calling Delta-21 Resources, Inc. at 877.207.9406.

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23227