The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in Clay County, West Virginia. It is one of a long list of counties in the state, seventeen counties in all, where the destructive pest can now consider itself at home. EAB has killed an estimated 25 million trees in North America.
State agriculture officials note the tally of counties in the state where the pest is found may continue to climb as they continue to check pest traps set up along West Virginia roads. The state is now under a federal EAB quarantine. Ash logs or products must be inspected and certified as EAB-free before they can be moved to any uninfested state.
"We continue to find EAB in more and more locations throughout the state," says West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. "It is extremely difficult to combat invasive species, but one thing people can do to help is avoid moving firewood long distances, such as when they go camping."
The state found EAB in Fayette County in 2007, in Morgan and Roane Counties in 2009 and in Raleigh, Calhoun and Nicholas Counties in 2010. Now, in 2011, the pest has been found in an additional 11 counties: Brooke, Berkeley, Clay, Greenbrier, Gilmer, Hancock, Kanawha, Mingo, Summers, Webster and Wirt.
Plant Industries Division Director Sherrie Hutchinson says, "No one wanted to find more EAB in the state, but the survey definitely enforces the fact that this invasive beetle has spread through artificial movement because we are finding it in widely spread areas of the state, rather than in neighboring counties. Every time you move infested ash firewood or logs you help move the beetle. They are under the bark where you don't see them, so please don't move firewood."
EAB only infects ash trees. Since it was first detected in Detroit, Michigan, 15 to 20 years ago, the insect has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.
To learn more about the pest, visit www.emeraldashborer.info.