Warren County is the latest to fall under quarantine rules restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock and other ash materials after emerald ash borers were confirmed in trees in the county. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler signed an emergency quarantine order allowing the expansion.
Granville, Person and Vance counties were already under quarantine from when the pest was first detected in the state in mid-June.
North Carolina is the 20th state in the country to confirm the presence of the destructive pest, following the discovery of an adult beetle and other signs of borer activity in trees in Granville County by staff with the N.C. Forest Service. Additional surveying found signs of emerald ash borer activity in the bordering counties of Person and Vance.
“Following the initial detection of emerald ash borer in the state, our staff began more intensive surveying and trapping in neighboring counties and those efforts yielded more borer activity, which we thought was likely,” Troxler said. “We will continue to look for the presence of emerald ash borers and ask for the public’s cooperation with these quarantine rules to restrict the movement any further.”
The beetle was first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees across the country.
Under the state quarantine, all hardwood firewood and plants and plant parts of the ash tree — including living, dead, cut or fallen, green lumber, stumps, roots, branches and composted and uncomposted chips — cannot be moved outside the four counties.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Plant Industry Division and N.C. Forest Service are working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Symptoms of emerald ash borer in ash trees include a general decline in the appearance of the tree, such as thinning from the top down and loss of leaves. Clumps of shoots, also known as epicormic sprouts, emerging from the trunk of the tree and increased woodpecker activity are other symptoms. The emerald ash borer is not the only pest that can cause these.
Emerald ash borers overwinter as larvae. Adult beetles begin to emerge from May to June and can be found in the summer months. The adult beetle is one-fourth to a half-inch long and is slender and metallic green. When the adults emerge from a tree, they leave behind a D-shaped exit hole. The larvae can also create serpentine tunneling marks, known as feeding galleries, which are found under the bark of the infested trees.
Home and landowners are encouraged to report any symptomatic activity in ash trees to the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division hotline at 1-800-206-9333 or by email at email@example.com. The pest can affect any of the four types of ash trees grown in the state.