NASHVILLE — Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been found in Sevier County. The identification was made recently and has been confirmed by USDA.
The insect attacks only ash trees and is believed to have been introduced into the Detroit area 15 to 20 years ago on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has killed millions of ash trees across several states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In response to the find, Tennessee Department of Agriculture is adding Sevier County to the Emerald Ash Borer quarantine. Blount, Claiborne, Grainger, Knox and Loudon counties are already under an Emerald Ash Borer quarantine, which prohibits the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber and other material that can spread the insect. With the new discovery, citizens can expect expanded surveys and should report any symptomatic ash trees to TDA.
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 Emeral Ash Borer 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 urges area residents and visitors to help prevent the spread of Emeral Ash Borer:
n Don’t transport firewood, even within Tennessee. Don’t bring firewood along for camping trips. Get the wood you need from a local source. Don’t bring wood home with you.
n Don’t buy or move firewood from outside the state. When obtaining firewood, ask the vendor about the source, and don’t buy wood from outside the state unless it states that it has been treated.
n Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect your ash tree could be infested with Emeral Ash Borer, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/eab for a symptoms checklist and report form or call TDA’s Regulatory Services Division at 800-628-2631.