RALEIGH - The emerald ash borer has been found in North Carolina for the first time and an emergency quarantine is in effect restricting the movement of hardwood firewood and ash materials in selected areas. The metallic green beetle is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees across the country.
Plant pest administrator Phillip Wilson says we can expect the decline of ash trees in the next couple of years. “It is a pest primarily of ash trees, that’s all, nothing else. But it is a pest that we really do not have a control for at this time so when ash trees become infected then their death with actually come within a two, three, four year period.”
The emerald ash borer originated in Michigan in 2002 and likely came to the country through the importation of products. Wilson says the beetle has spread across the country, affecting at least 20 states and that is important to control it.
The quarantine affects Granville, Person, and Vance counties to prevent further spread of the pest. Wilson says the quarantine will include all plant parts of the ash tree, such as “hardwood firewood…plant parts of the ash tree…green lumber, stumps, roots, branches, and un-composted material.”
A federal quarantine is expected to come soon as well. Symptoms of the ash borer include a thinning of the tree from top down, loss of leaves, clumps of shoots from the trunk of the tree and increased woodpecker activity. Landowners are encouraged to report this activity to the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division hotline at 1-800-206-9333 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.