Traps Return as Officials Attempt to Track Emerald Ash Borer

For the third consecutive year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), will conduct a statewide survey to determine the extent of areas infested with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The 2011 survey will include large areas of central, southern and western Virginia.

As part of the upcoming EAB survey efforts, USDA has contracted with Delta-21 Resources, Inc., to install approximately 5,500 traps throughout Virginia. The traps are easy to identify. They are purple in color, triangular in shape, and measure 14″ wide by 24″ long. The traps are baited with natural plant oil attractant and covered with a non-toxic glue to catch the insects. The traps are especially useful for revealing new infestations that would otherwise remain undetected.

The EAB larvae kill ash trees by feeding on the inner bark and disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. EAB was introduced accidentally into the United States, most likely in wood packing materials coming from Asia, and was first detected in Michigan in 2002. The first EAB detection in Virginia occurred in Fairfax County in 2003, at an elementary school where infected ash trees originating from a nursery in Michigan had been planted. To prevent the spread of EAB, all ash trees within a half mile radius of the school were cut and chipped. Over the next few years, surveys for EAB were negative which suggested that the infestation had been contained and effectively eradicated.

Unfortunately, EAB was detected again at multiple sites in Fairfax County in 2008. This resulted in the establishment of a quarantine for ten northern Virginia counties and independent cities, including the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The quarantine was expanded in 2010 due to additional EAB detections and now also includes Frederick and Clarke Counties and the city of Winchester. The quarantine restricts the movement of articles capable of transporting EAB from quarantined localities to non-quarantined localities in an effort to slow the spread of this destructive beetle. The regulated articles, which include ash trees, green (non-heat treated) ash lumber and ash wood products, as well as hardwood firewood, pose a significant risk of transporting EAB.

In 2010, VDACS surveyors placed 4,100 traps around the state, the majority of which were placed in the northern Virginia area. Only four traps were positive for EAB, three of which were located in Frederick County and one in Prince William County. While other Virginia localities did not have positive finds for EAB, there is a strong possibility that due to the insects’ ability to be spread via firewood movement, EAB is present in other areas of the state.

VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr explained the reasons for continuing the EAB survey, which began April 1 and will run through the end of August, “EAB has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in 13 states, and we are very concerned about the infestations in Northern Virginia. The damage caused by this invasive insect can mean the loss of millions of dollars for homeowners, landowners, nursery and forest products industries. It is extremely important to track the movement of EAB in order to help slow its spread and to work with localities to help them make informed pest management decisions.”

Find additional information about the EAB at www.emeraldashborer.info. Additional information regarding specific trap locations can be obtained by calling Delta-21 Resources, Inc. at 877.207.9406.

via VDACS