Emerald Ash Borer Found in Five More West Virginia Counties

Emerald ash borers (EAB) were detected in Webster County in late May in a purple prism trap set by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-APHIS-PPQ). The beetle has also been detected this week on purple prism traps set by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) in Wirt, Kanawha, Gilmer and Mingo Counties. Eleven West Virginia counties are now considered infested with this invasive beetle, which has killed more than 25 million ash trees in North America. The other six counties are Calhoun, Fayette, Morgan, Nicholas, Raleigh and Roane.

“The discovery of emerald ash borer in five more West Virginia counties shows how easily these non-native insects move,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “We need to focus on ways to prevent the spread of these insects, such as using local firewood when camping rather than bringing your own.”

WVDA Plant Industries Division Acting Director Sherrie Hutchinson stated that taking a few simple steps can help control this invasive pest.

“We promote the ‘Don’t Move Firewood’ and ‘Burn It Where You Buy It’ campaigns here in West Virginia so people realize when they move firewood they may also move other things like insects and diseases. We want everyone to be aware that using/buying local firewood is a simple approach aimed at making sure pests aren’t moved when you travel from place to place – like from your home to a campground.”

Plant Industries staff first found EAB in October 2007 in Fayette County on a trap tree set up as a monitoring tool. In 2009, a landowner in Morgan County noticed one on his property, and one was found on one of the purple prism traps set in Roane County. With the Roane County find, the state EAB quarantine in Fayette and Morgan Counties was rescinded and the state became regulated under the federal EAB quarantine. EAB was caught on purple prism traps in Raleigh, Calhoun and Nicholas Counties in 2010.

EAB attacks only ash trees. It is believed to have been introduced into the Detroit, Mich., area 15-20 years ago on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.