COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The presence of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) was confirmed this week in Wise County. Wise County will be added to the list of Texas jurisdictions under quarantine by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) – the third county added this year. TDA quarantines are designed to slow the spread of the insect pest by limiting the transportation of ash wood, wood waste and hardwood firewood.
On May 25, Texas A&M Forest Service collected an adult beetle specimen in southern Wise County and tentatively identified it as EAB. The beetle was collected in an EAB trap that is part of a state monitoring program run by Texas A&M Forest Service each year.
The specimen was sent to the USDA Department Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) national lab for confirmation and was confirmed as EAB.
“EAB is an invasive wood-boring pest of ash trees that has caused significant impacts across the eastern United States,” said Demian Gomez, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator. “The pest is a significant threat to urban, suburban and rural forests as it is very aggressive, killing ash trees within two or three years after they become infested.”
The beetle was first detected in Texas in 2016 in Harrison County. Since then, EAB has been positively confirmed in Bowie, Cass, Dallas, Denton, Marion, Wise, Parker and Tarrant Counties.
Each year, Texas A&M Forest Service sets traps and proactively monitors for the pest.
“Since 2018, we have deployed nearly 500 traps across Central, East and North Texas annually watching for the insect’s presence and movement,” said Gomez. “Early detection of the beetle is the best way to stop the spread and avoid high ash mortality.”
Ash trees with low numbers of EAB often have few, or no external symptoms of infestations. However, residents can look for signs of EAB among their ash trees including dead branches near the top of the tree, leafy shoots sprouting from the trunk, bark splits exposing s-shaped larval galleries, extensive woodpecker activities and D-shaped exit holes.
Once the presence of EAB is confirmed in a county, TDA assumes regulatory responsibility which includes the establishment of quarantines. The state’s mandatory quarantine by TDA, restricts movement of any woody ash material exiting the county or quarantined area.
“Because EAB is transported unintentionally on firewood and wood products, the quarantine helps slow the beetle’s spread by restricting the movement of wood in and out of affected areas,” said Gomez.
Communities and residents can find available resources on identifying EAB infestations and creating a community preparedness plan at: http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/eab/.
EAB photos and resources can be viewed and accessed at http://ow.ly/LIJi30lbBxz
For information from TDA on EAB quarantine, visit https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=4&pt=1&ch=19&sch=Z&rl=Y
To report emerald ash borer, please call 1-866-322-4512.